Joran Van der Sloot Pleads Guilty, Gets "Anticipated Conclusion"
Joran Van der Sloot pleaded guilty today to Murder with Aggravated Circumstances and Simple Theft. He's now eligible for up to 10 years off the requested 30 year sentence, but the decision rests with the three judge panel. Larger photo here.
Summary: Joran offered his sincere confession. The trial was concluded and the case moved to "Anticipated Conclusion." (See here for explanation.)
Joran's attorney gave his sentencing statement asking for a lesser sentence since he pleaded guilty under the anticipated conclusion law. In mitigation, he said Joran was only 21 at the time of the crime, had PTSD from being wrongfully accused and hounded by the media for five years over the disappearance of Natalie Holloway and the recent death of his father.
My live blog with a rough transcript of the court hearing is below: [More....]
Judge offers Joran a Dutch interpreter. He declines.
Judge tells him he heard the charges the other day and asks how he wants to plead.
Joran says he will avail himself of his anticipated confession.
He wants to give a sincere confession. "I am truly regretful, I feel really bad." You are guilty of the facts? Yes.
He accepts the charges with their full consequences and ramifications.
The judge then turns to the first driver. He says he is not guilty of covering up anything.
The second and third cab drivers plead not guilty.
Joran’s lawyer can now make a statement.
In view of my client’s confession, I would like to come to the anticpated conclusion of this trial.
Background matters: This statement must consider the totality of the penalty and the financial imposition to be imposed. I would like to say some elements the court must consider in making its final resolution.
My client, Joran, May 30, 2010 was 21 years old. He was persecuted, he was faced against the entire world for the last five years because of an occurrence he did not commit, and for which there was no evidence – the disappearance of Natalie Holloway. Added to the recent death of his father before these events. These are all part of the baggage my client carried with him and which affected him that day.
Traumatic stress disorder. This concept is intimately related to what Joran suffered the day of this event. It was 5 years that Natalie disappeared and the media portrayed him as a monster.
Objection: Natalie is irrelevant
Response: It’s part of his psychological condition on the day of this event.
Judge agrees with prosecution. Defense responds the PTSD is relevant and he wants to make sure there an evaluation is done as to what PTSD means.
Addresses cruelty and violence. Says it is not supported by the evidence. Judge tells the lawyer he can’t go there and get an anticipated conclusion. Under anticipated conclusion (see here), Joran has to accept the prosecutor’s charges.
(TV goes to commercial)
Defense says Joran should get a lesser sentence because of the anticipated conclusion.
Judge says in accordance with statement of defense attorney, this court concludes the oral debate. We will now suspend the proceeding to prepare the appropriate resolution regarding only Van der Sloot.
Victim's lawyer stands up. Says there is an omission, in light of human rights, we must say that the victim has the right to the truth. He asks for clarification. The three judges confer. Since the defendant has accepted the charges and and the case has moved to anticipated conclusion, only civil reparation can be addressed. Anything else is not provided for in the regulations. We can allow you to speak only as to civil reparations.
Victim's lawyer says part of a reparation amount is the damage done. This was a 21 year old college student whose life was taken.
(TV goes to talking heads instead of continuing live coverage.)
End of live blog.
The judges have 48 hours to deliver their sentence. They will decide how much a benefit to give him, they can give him up to 10 years off, or 20 years.
After serving more than half of his sentence, he can ask for an additional reduction, based on good behavior.
The family of Stephany Flores did not attend today, but says it will attend the sentencing Friday. They do not have input at the hearing, as the decision will have already been made. Prison prison placement is up to the INPE, the equivalent of our Bureau of Prisons.
The pundits were disappointed that Joran wasn't quizzed about his confession, either not understanding or not accepting that with an anticipated conclusion, he's not required to explain, just to admit.
I still think the benefit to Joran by pleading guilty relates more to his ultimate prison placement and the programs (and accompanying good time reductions) he will be eligible for than the number of years less than 30 that will be imposed. While he's hoping for a 20 year sentence, I'd be surprised if the judges impose less than 25 years.
Again, the sentence will be imposed on Friday.
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