Attorney Mike Little said Kenneth Robinson was given an "illegal" sentence after pleading guilty to a 1995 murder, and it took years for the justice system to get it corrected.
Robinson appeared before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Tuesday and pleaded guilty once again to the slaying of Grover Barnett Jr. on Sept. 16, 1995.
He is set to be released from state prison soon after the new plea to voluntary manslaughter. He was given 10 years, but he has already served the time.
Attorney Little said Robinson earlier entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder with the understanding that he would get a 20-year term with consideration for parole eligibilty after serving 30 percent.
However, the attorney said a law had gone into effect at the time that second-degree murder convictions had to be served at 100 percent. He said when Robinson got to prison he was told he was facing the full 20 years.
Attorney Little said that fact "got by the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the judge in the case."
He said Robinson brought up the issue on a post-conviction filing, but his attorney msihandled it and it was dismissed. He said the only avenue left was to file a habeas corpus petition.
Attorney Little said a public defender in Morgan County where Robinson was held filed that petition and got a favorable ruling from a judge. But he said the order in the case languished in Morgan County for two years without ever being acted on.
He said Robinson family members then came to him, and he began to look into the issues surrounding the unusual case.
Prosecutor Neal Pinkston the two men that day in 1995 had words and a gun was drawn. He said there is evidence that Barnett went for the gun and then Robinson shot him.
Robinson, who was 21 at the time, has been in custody for over 11 years. He is now 32.
"You are still a young man," Judge Poole told him.
He is expected to be released soon after he is taken back to state prison.