ABERDEEN, Miss.–Dwight Bowling was once a celebrated high school football coach in Mississippi and Alabama, but in 2011 he pleaded guilty to repeatedly violating the trust that his students and their parents put in him by molesting and raping football players in both states. Now he’s got the chance to appeal his 300-month prison sentence.
In 2011 Bowling fired his lawyer, Christy McCoy, so she did not, under his instructions, file an appeal of the sentence within the 14 days allotted.
So, Bowling missed his chance to appeal.
But a federal judge ruled this week that since McCoy was a court-appointed attorney, she could not be fired by Bowling and she should have continued to act on his behalf until the court said otherwise.
Now Bowling has the opportunity again to file his appeal. He says the judge gave him too harsh a sentence and that it went beyond federal guidelines, which should have been somewhere around 150 months.
If the court rules in favor of Bowling in his appeal, his sentence could potentially be reduced from 25 years to 12.