Rock Island man accused of setting downtown fire

UPDATE: Changes Could be Coming to VanHoutte Case

The lawyer for Jason VanHoutte, who’s in jail for having sex with one of his students, was back in court today hoping to reduce his prison sentence.

VanHoutte’s lawyer returned to the Rock Island County Courthouse Monday, October 24, 2011.

There, the judge said that VanHoutte’s plea agreement and his sentence did not match, so changes will need to be made.

VanHoutte pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual assault last year, leaving him with a 12-year prison sentence.

VanHoutte’s lawyer is trying to reduce or throw out that sentence based on the Jeff Terronez scandal that broke this Spring. Terronez pleaded guilty in April to supplying alcohol to the same minor that was the victim in the VanHoutte case.

Because Terronez was the prosecutor of that case, VanHoutte’s lawyer decided to file an appeal and try to get a new judge. The request for a new judge was denied, but on Monday – the judge who sentenced VanHoutte to jail said he and his lawyer have two choices. They can file a new motion to dismiss, adding the new issues, or the two sides can negotiate a new plea.

VanHoutte’s lawyer gets 30 days to decide what they want to do, then Rock Island County State’s Attorney Mark Senko will have 30 days to respond.

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