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Opening Arguments

You can't always get what you want

Oops. Jeffrey A. Akard thought his 93-year-sentence for brutally raping a homeless woman was too harsh, so he asked that it be reduced to 40 years. Things didn't go quite as he might have hoped at the Indiana Court of Appeals:

In an unprecedented and unanimous decision issued Tuesday, the panel of three judges ruled that Akard's sentence be increased to 118 years because of the crimes' heinous nature.

"It's my understanding that it's the first time ever in the state of Indiana where a defendant's sentence was revised upward," said Tippecanoe County Deputy Prosecutor Laura Zeman, who handled Akard's case.

"This is extremely significant."

This may be without precedent, but we can only hope it will set a precedent. An IU professor quoted in the story says the appellate court can revise a sentence upward only if the defendant challenges his or her sentence on appeal, which happens often. If the appellate judges start really examining the cases they hear for sentence appropriateness, maybe a few more dangerous predators will stay where they belong a little longer.