A Baltimore circuit judge has knocked five months off the sentence of a 28-year-old Canadian dentist convicted last year of killing her physician husband.
Judge John N. Prevas ruled Tuesday that Alpna Patel deserved credit for 171 days she had served while in some form of custody, a Patel lawyer said yesterday.
Prevas based his ruling on a 1999 Maryland law that states that people are entitled to credit for time served if they are under court orders that severely restrict their movements, said Lynn Williamson, one of Patel's lawyers.
The ruling reduces Patel's sentence for manslaughter to two years and seven months at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Her sentence began in October.
Patel was under house arrest and other restrictions at various times after the death of her husband, Viresh Patel, at his Pimlico apartment in March 1999, Williamson said.
Williamson said that defense lawyers raised concerns about the impact of the law during Patel's sentencing but none of the lawyers had a copy of the statute. Patel's defense lawyers filed a motion to modify her sentence, and Prevas held a hearing Tuesday.
Patel was convicted in September after jurors deliberated for three days.
That trial followed Patel's first trial in February, when a lone juror refused to acquit her. Prevas declared a mistrial, and prosecutors brought the case again.