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Lawyers to Argue Over Murder Sentencing Discretion

Lawyers to Argue Over Murder Sentencing Discretion



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Prosecutors will argue today that a new state law takes away a judge's discretion to sentence a murder case as a manslaughter.

At stake could be whether a young mother ever leaves prison. That's because the former charge carries a 15-years-to-life prison term and the latter a one-to-15-year term.

Monika Dilmaghanian pleaded guilty to a murder charge last month in the April 6 stabbing death of her boyfriend, Nathan Harris, during an argument on a camping trip in Ogden Valley.

Her Sept. 5 sentencing before 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones was postponed at the prosecution's request after Jones indicated that he would be essentially reducing the charge to manslaughter for sentencing.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Nathan Lyons has since filed a motion arguing a three-year-old state law precludes such reductions for certain crimes, including murder.

Defense attorney Bernie Allen will argue the law may not apply. Todays hearing will determine whether sentencing will go forward Friday, or whether Dilmaghanian is sentenced today.

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Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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