In 2004, Pedro Cabrera appeared in front of Judge Leo Holt, ready to plead guilty to a robbery and accepting a 6 year prison deal worked out between his attorney and the prosecutor. Judge Holt expressed amazement at how good of a deal his attorneys had worked out being that Cabrera had previously been convicted of 4 felonies. Judge Hold said that "it boggles my mind." When Cabrera had an opportunity to address the court, he told Judge Holt that he was really innocent. Judge hold immediately stopped the proceedings and informed Cabrera that he would not go along with the deal. Judge Holt stated that, "you don't have a right to cause me to disgrace myself and the criminal justice system by accepting a plea of guilty from you when you are, in fact, not guilty." Cabrera begged the judge to accept the plea agreement because he felt that he could not beat the case at trial. Judge Holt rejected his pleas and the matter proceeded to trial. At a bench trial, he was found guilty of Armed Robbery and Burglary and sentenced to a total of 27 years. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections website, he will not be eligible for parole until 4/14/13. If he had not proclaimed his innocence, and Judge Holt had accepted the plea agreement, Cabrera would have been released a long time ago.
Today the Illinois Court of Appeals upheld Judge Holt's rulling and found that it was within his discretion to not go along with the plea agreement.
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