Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 11, 2013

Schwander sentence vacated


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TRAVERSE CITY - A convicted killer will have his prison sentence vacated and will be resentenced by another judge, according to an order by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

A Grand Traverse County jury in 2011 convicted Robert Jensen Schwander, 19, of second-degree murder for slaying Carly Lewis, then 16, in a hut on Beitner Street in Traverse city that year.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power sentenced Schwander to a minimum of 40 years in prison, almost double the highest minimum under state sentencing guidelines.

Power trimmed Schwander's sentence by two years after the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered him to explain why he exceeded the guidelines or re-sentence him. Power in a ruling declined to explain his departure from sentencing guidelines, and said he provided substantial reasoning during the initial sentencing.

The Michigan Court of Appeals remanded the matter and said the resentence was done in a manner inconsistent with mandated procedures. In an order dated April 9, the court of appeals contended the trial court did not articulate "why the identified substantial and compelling reasons justified the extent of the departure sentence."

And "because the presiding judge in this matter would reasonably be expected upon remand to have substantial difficulty in putting aside his previously expressed (views), and to preserve the appearance of justice" the court of appeals ordered Schwander be resentenced by a different judge.