Saginaw County Man Gets up to 30 Years
While there are a number of instances where Michigan judges have surprised the court by showing incredible leniency during sentencings that were expected to be quite severe. But on this occasion, this phenomena swings the other way, as it did for Jose R. Teneyuque Sr. He was recently sentenced by a judge who chose to exceed the state’s sentencing guidelines.
Because of the drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of his 19-year-old daughter, Teneyuque was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death. Under normal circumstances, this charge has a sentencing guideline of 15 years at the most, but because this is his third drunk driving offense, he is considered to be a habitual offender, which increases the maximum to 30 years.
Under Michigan law, this means that his sentencing minimum may not be less than two thirds of the new maximum. In essence: his new sentencing minimum is now 20 years. Days before his scheduled trial, Teneyuque accepted a plea bargain that took a murder charge off the table. But what it didn’t include was a sentencing agreement.
And so when weighing the public interest against the wishes of the Teneyuque family, Saginaw County Circuit Judge Janet M. Boes decided to err on the side of the public. She sentenced Teneyuque to 15-to-30 years in prison, citing that her reasons for doing so were “objective and verifiable.”
Michigan law requires that a Judge who exceeds the sentencing guidelines provide “substantial and compelling reasons”. Judge Boes listed her reason for this decision as being the defendant’s blood alcohol at the time of the accident, which at 0.30 was almost 4 times the state’s legal limit.
She also noted the fact that Teneyuque had a number of inconsistencies in the information he had provided to police after the accident, and the fact that he knowingly gave false statements to investigators.
And finally she pointed out that this is not a new issue for the defendant. In addition to his history of parole violations and repeat drunk driving incidents, she noted that even during this case he was unable to follow the rules, violating the alcohol-related conditions while out on bond. For what little comfort it may give him, Judge Boes did grant Teneyuque credit for 89 days already served. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to a potential 30 years.