Chilton County Chief Deputy DA calls for sentencing reform
A stiff sentence for a Chilton County man who admitted to killing his wife. Eric Price will serve 40 years in prison. Prosecutors worked out a plea agreement. It took "life in prison" off the table.
It may not sound like it on the surface, but Price will actually serve more time with the 40 year sentence than a life sentence.
He would have been eligible for parole in 15 years.
The prosecutor who worked this case says it's time for a "reality check" when it comes to sentencing. The latest prison reform act says that "truth in sentencing" will come into play by 2020.
That means convicts would serve the entire term, to which they have been sentenced.
Chilton County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson says the way sentencing is now, there is no real deterrent for criminals.
For example -- a 15 year sentence could result in only five years of actual time served.
He says that is not right.
"So many people ask, why didn't you get life for Eric Price? And my response is -- we got more than life," said Robinson.
He believes life in prison should mean life in prison. "The entire time I've been a prosecutor, there's been a push for what's called truth in sentencing. If we tell someone their sentence is 15 years, and that sentence is really five years, then what are we doing here?"
Robinson says he spends hours going over sentencing with families of victims -- including the Leaj Price's family.
By Alabama law, murder can be penalized anywhere from 10 years to 99 years in prison. Robinson knows prison overcrowding is a reason for these shortened sentences.
"I'm not blaming (Department of Corrections), I'm not blaming the parole board, but this is all something we need to figure out," Robinson said.
Price will be granted a parole hearing in 15 years.
Robinson says any change would have to come from lawmakers in Montgomery. He encourages people to reach out to their legislators about "truth in sentencing"