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People v. Johnny Couser, Indictment No. 97-743-1, (Onondaga Co. Ct.) - PLSNY
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People v. Johnny Couser, Indictment No. 97-743-1, (Onondaga Co. Ct.)

In 1998, defendant was convicted of murder in the first degree, intentional murder in the second degree, attempted intentional murder in the second degree (2 counts), conspiracy in the second degree, and murder in the second degree. The court imposed two of the sentences to run consecutively, giving Mr. Couser an aggregate minimum sentence of 32½ years to life. On appeal, the court reversed all but two of the convictions and dismissed the charges relating to the reversed convictions. The sentences for the remaining convictions were concurrent to each other, giving Mr. Couser an aggregate minimum sentence of 25 years.  The original sentence and commitment order erroneously stated that all of the sentences were to run consecutively to each other. While this was erroneous, the defendant was not prejudiced by the error until the appeals court reversed the convictions which had sentences that were imposed to run consecutively to each other. At that point, an amended sentence and commitment order was required in order to reflect the change in the aggregate minimum sentence.

PLS made an application to the sentencing judge to direct the clerk to issue the amended sentence and commitment order. Several conferences were held, after which the court proposed that it direct the clerk to issue the amended order and instruct the clerk as to how the order should be drafted. The clerk issued an amended sentence and commitment order which reflects the actual sentence imposed in 2001 and Mr. Couser’s legal date computation now correctly states his maximum parole eligibility date, a date that is 7 years 6 months earlier than it was originally.