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Salem man seeks sentence reduction in infant abuse case
BRENTWOOD – A Salem man serving prison time for abusing of his infant daughter is asking a judge to reduce his minimum 10 year sentence so he can be paroled this year, two years ahead of his anticipated release date.
John Holland, 35, has served more than 8 years of his state prison sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree assault for abusing his 3-month-old daughter in July 2005.
Prosecutors are expected to object to Holland’s release, ultimately leaving it up to a Rockingham Superior Court judge to decide whether to maintain or reduce the prison term.
Holland was sentenced in February 2007 to serve a 10 to 20 year prison term. Prosecutors at the time said that his daughter nearly died as a result of being assaulted by her father.
Holland’s lawyer, Mark Stevens, said Holland has served more than eight years behind bars, nearly two years beyond when he could have asked for a sentence reduction.
“Mr. Holland has spent his time in prison working and learning job skills, which will help his rehabilitation when he eventually is released from prison,” Stevens said in court papers.
Stevens said that his client maintains a close relationship with his mother and grandmother, and could live with his grandmother in Rockingham County if paroled.
Judge Tina Nadeau noted during the 2007 sentencing that the Probation Department recommended that Holland only serve seven of a 10 year minimum sentence. Nadeau decided against suspended three years of the minimum sentence.
“I’m not going to give you three off up front, but there is a provision of law that allows you to come back to court, regardless of what I sentence in six and a half or so years,” Nadeau said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “And at that time, I’ll weigh your behavior in prison. But I’m not willing at this point to give you that time off before I see how you do there.”
Holland has complied with the terms of his sentence, completing parenting training, anger management programs and substance abuse treatment, according to Stevens.
Stevens acknowledged that Holland has had some trouble while at the prison.
“He was involved in some fighting, especially when he first arrived which was largely precipitated by the other inmates learning of the charge he was convicted for,” Stevens said. Other disciplinary infractions included missing doctors and dentists appointments and lending a Nintendo game cartridge to another inmate, court records say. No hearing date has been set for Holland’s request.
If you suspect child abuse, call the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families at 800-894-5533 , or contact your local police.
If you have a question or concern, contact Granite State Children’s Alliance 889-0321 or online at www.cac-nh.org.
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