A man sentenced to prison for 15 years for hijacking a plane from New York to Cuba four decades ago will be resentenced after a federal appeals court ruled yesterday that a lower-court judge wrongly concluded he would not be eligible for parole.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the resentencing for Luis Armando Pena Soltren, 69, who was returned to the United States from Cuba in October 2009 to face air-piracy charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Southern District Judge Alvin Hellerstein (See Profile) last year to 15 years in prison without parole.
Parole has been abolished in the federal system since the 1968 hijacking, and inmates now must serve their entire sentence, except for a 15 percent reduction earned for good behavior. But in a summary order, the circuit said Pena Soltren is entitled to a sentence that includes the possibility of parole because parole existed in 1968. Circuit Judges Amalya Kearse (See Profile) and Susan Carney (See Profile) and sitting, by designation, Connecticut District Judge J. Clifford Wallace decided United States v. Pena Soltren, 11-256-cr.