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Knight Suffers Setback in Bid for Early Release

September 29, 1998

Imprisoned rap entrepreneur Marion "Suge" Knight suffered a setback in his attempt to gain an early release from custody.

The state Court of Appeal issued an order reversing itself and vacating a previous ruling that set the stage for a new hearing for Knight, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1996 for a probation violation. The order came one day after attorneys for Knight filed a motion to obtain immediate release on bail pending a new sentencing hearing.

The appellate court issued its latest order Friday in response to a Sept. 8 petition filed by the state attorney general's office. The state said the three-judge panel made its earlier ruling based on factual error regarding sentencing procedures. The appellate court granted the attorney general's office a rehearing to examine the matter, although no date has been scheduled.

Two years ago, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger said that under the terms of a plea bargain negotiated between Knight and prosecutors, he had no choice but to send Knight to prison for nine years for violating his probation. Knight, who has been serving his sentence in the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, appealed the ruling.

In August, the appellate court overturned the lower court ruling, vacated Knight's nine-year sentence and ordered a new sentencing hearing. In September, the attorney general argued that the trial court's sentencing of Knight was proper, based on a reading of transcripts of the hearing at which the original plea bargain was issued.

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