Jacquetta Simmons, the New York woman who was convicted last year of assaulting a Walmart greeter, had her five-year sentence reduced this week to just one year in county jail.
Simmons was convicted of second-degree assault in August for punching 70-year-old Grace Suozzi in the face at a Batavia Walmart on Christmas Eve 2011 after the employee asked her to provide a receipt for a return, according to The Batavian
"I do not have a normal life anymore," Suozzi said during the trial. "She has taken away my health, that I worked so hard to maintain without medication. Now I’m forced to be on blood pressure and pain medication."
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Judge Robert C. Noonan originally sentenced Simmons to five years in prison but an appellate judge ruled in November that the punishment was too harsh for a first-time offender.
"The sentence imposed by me previously is obviously the sentence I thought appropriate for this case," Noonan said Monday during the resentencing hearing. "The appellate division has the authority to modify the sentence and has done so. As Mr. Friedman noted, I have no discretion to modify their sentence. Therefore, I sentence you to one year in the Genesee County Jail."
Simmons' defense team has maintained from the beginning that the punch was accidental and happened as Simmons tried to pull her arm away from another store employee.
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman was disappointed in Simmons' reduced sentence.
"Having gone through this and seeing the impact this had on Mrs. Suozzi, her family, a lot of people in the community who knew her and cared about her — all of that is something that is lost in the appeal process," he told The Batavian after Monday's hearing. "It's one punch, but more than the physical harm is the emotional harm. It really affected her life as far as her ability to return to work and go out and about. She's a very nice lady and this sentence doesn't do her justice."
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