BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Buffalo woman who has been incarcerated for two decades on a murder conviction is being granted a re-sentencing hearing.
Patrice Smith could be released from Albion Correctional Facility if Judge Sheila DiTullio sides with Smith's attorney, Kate Mogulescu, who argues that Smith was the victim of sexual exploitation by 71-year-old Robert Robinson, whom Smith was convicted of killing when she was 16 years old in 1998. An earlier report by 7 Eyewitness News details the explicit witness testimony that supports Mogulescu's argument.
Mogulescu applied for re-sentencing under the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, which was enacted in 2019. New York State describes it as a law that "seeks to mitigate harsh punishments imposed upon eligible defendants whose crimes can be directly linked to a history of domestic violence."
107 organizations from across the country support Mogulescu's effort to have Smith re-sentenced to the equivalent of time served, 21 years.
The organizations, including Catholic Charities and the International Institute of Buffalo, signed a petition seeking Erie County District Attorney John Flynn's support on the matter. Flynn has publicly opposed the effort.
A re-sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 23rd.