The appeals court disagreed:
A defendant has no vested right to be sentenced in the manner previously explained to him. Instead, the punishment imposed must accord with the law in effect at the time. “When the Legislature imposes minimum penalties for certain offenses, the judiciary must enforce that mandate.... No defendant can claim a legitimate expectation of finality in a sentence below the statutorily mandated minimum.” State v. Nicolai, 287 N.J.Super. 528, 531-32 (App.Div.1996); State v. Eigenmann, 280 N.J.Super. 331, 337 (App.Div.1995).This ruling is certainly contrary to many other states, who offer the defendant the choice of the sentence at the time of offense or at the time of sentencing, under the 'rule of lenity'. Equally, the ruling might be at odds with the ex post facto clauses, IMHO.
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