Up To Ten Years Shaved Off Sentence

Date posted - June 15, 2015

Spencer, Iowa — A Spencer man has had up to ten years knocked off his sentence after a hearing.
According to court records 23-year-old Christopher Fitzpatrick was serving a 45-year term after being convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter, First Degree Robbery, and Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine in the death of 59-year-old Edward Kitto in September of 2012. The altercation happened in August of 2012. Fitzpatrick had been sentenced to ten years on the Voluntary Manslaughter charge, twenty-five years on the First Degree Burglary Charge, and ten years on the meth charge, with all sentences to run consecutively.

Fitzpatrick argued that he received ineffective counsel because his lawyer did not object to the court’s failure to abide by the plea agreement or object to the prosecutor’s failure to correct the court’s mistake.

Friday’s ruling means the Voluntary Manslaughter sentence and the methamphetamine sentence can be served concurrently.

Clay County Attorney Michael Houchins says that the re-sentencing stems from a misunderstanding. He says Judge Carl Petersen said that the plea agreement that was reached was mandatory on the court. But Houchins says that in this case, even though both parties were making the same sentencing recommendation, it was not binding on the court, and the court could have imposed another sentence allowed by law. The Iowa Court of Appeals said that because neither side’s attorney objected to the misstatement, Fitzpatrick needed to be re-sentenced.

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