RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- We are getting a new perspective on a controversial re-sentencing, which News 4 reported last week
. Last week, Washoe District Judge Brent Adams handed down a new and lighter sentence to Issac Onsurez, who was convicted of lewdness with a child under the age of 14.
On Thursday, Chief Judge David Hardy gave us a unique insight. This case could still be appealed, so the judge did not talk about the specifics of this case. But he did share his thought process as a judge.
69-year-old Isaac Onsurez faced a charge of lewdness with a child under the age of 14. His case did not go to trial. Instead, Onsurez entered a guilty plea in a bargain agreement.
So far, Judge Hardy said this is pretty standard stuff. "The judge in Department Six had an option to sentence the defendant to probation or to sentence the defendant to life with a minimum of 10 years served before parole."
Onsurez was sentenced to the 10-year minimum on March 12. Soon after, the judge rescinded that order, and the sentence was changed to one year in the Washoe County Jail, followed by five years probation.
The victim's family was stunned and outraged. "There's a well-settled principal in law that what the judge orally pronounces from the bench is not fixed until the judge signs the order and its entered into the clerk of court," said Hardy.
But in this case, the judge did enter the order. In the re-sentencing, he explained from the bench the tougher sentence should have never been filed. It was a clerical mistake.
This change in judge's decision is unusual. Judge Hardy could not say how often it occurs, but said it does happen. "From time to time, I've gone back to the bench and I have changed my oral pronouncement, or I've signed an order that's slightly different."
Hardy said a judge must be allowed to think things through and make decisions, despite the risk of admitting a mistake or facing criticism. "I certainly can't comment on Judge Adams or what he did in this particular case, but the process of considering such a significant decision is something I wish to emulate."
This case has drawn national attention. Fox News Commentator Bill O'Reilly has been very critical of the re-sentencing. O'Reilly hosts the show "The O'Reilly Factor", and is known for stirring the pot.
"I think the role of the media is sacred in a secular sense, and I welcome any examination of the work that we do," said Hardy. "I have no comment on Mr. O'Reilly or any other (specific) commentators."