High Court: Judges can mete out harsher penalties
Santo Domingo.- The Supreme Court’s 2nd Chamber on Monday ruled that a judge may opt for a harsher penalty than what prosecutors request, provided it adheres to the law.
Chamber presiding justice Miriam Germán says the judge is authorized "to apply a penalty greater than the requested, when punishment is unjustified and disproportionate to the damage resulting from the criminal offense, prompts an illegal penalty, such as a lower one than what the legislator intended."
The justices noted in the ruling handed down against an appeal by Liquito Volquez sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder, that despite that the defendant cannot be surprised with a penalty greater than requested, "this doesn’t mean that the judge’s hands are tied to the letter to accept what’s requested."
The case stems from an appeal by Berkis Crucita Feliz filed February 24, 2012 against the sentence which sent Wilton Jeannot and Liquito Volquez to 30 years in prison for murdering Jesús María de León, despite that the prosecution requested only 20 years.