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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING : LOS ANGELES : Judge upholds 8-year sentence

November 17, 2009|Scott Glover

Despite having part of the case against him overturned by an appeals court, a Caltech graduate student convicted five years ago of conspiracy and arson for vandalizing 125 SUVs will serve his original sentence of more than eight years in federal prison, a judge has ruled.

Attorneys for defendant William Cottrell had hoped to persuade District Court Judge Gary Klausner to resentence Cottrell to time served. The request followed a September decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which tossed out the arson conviction because Cottrell was not allowed to present evidence at trial that he suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism that impairs a person's ability to interact normally with others and inhibits understanding of facial gestures and other nonverbal signals.

-- Scott Glover

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