Because the crime was committed before changes were made in sentencing laws in 1995, Chalmers, who was 22 at the time, can be considered for parole after serving 25 years.
Defendants convicted of first-degree murder now must serve at least 51 years to meet the parole board.
Under T.C.A. 40-35-501(g) if the date of the offense was between 11/1/1989 but prior to 7/1/1993, the Release Eligibility Date for Parole would be considered after 36 years.
The offense date of this offense was 11/12/1989.
The sentencing statutes were amended in both 7/1/1993, creating Life Without Parole and 7/1/1995, increasing the RED for Life With Eligibility for Parole to serving a minimum of 36 years. Prior to 11/1/1989 and after 7/1/1993 through 7/1/1995, the RED was 25 years.
A Petition for Post-Conviction Relief has been filed on the grounds of ineffective assistance by trial counsel and trial court, for incorrectly advising Mr. Chalmers of his sentence. Under Rule 11, the court is not obligate to advise a defendant of his RED date, but since Mr. Chalmers was incorrectly advised of this fact on the record, he may have grounds for relief. The relief available to Mr. Chalmers is having his guilty plea set aside, for re-pleading or to go to trial. The State is under no obligation to plea bargain or to reduce Mr. Chalmers sentence.