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November 3, 2004

More election/sentencing news of note

With thanks to Howard Bashman at How Appealing for the link, here is a very interesting story about a state district judge in Kansas who won (rather handily) a retention election "despite an effort to oust her because of her sentencing record" organized by a group called The Justice for Children Committee. Here are some of the highlights from a quite interesting article:

The campaign was the first time in county history a judge faced formal opposition heading into a retention election.

The controversy began earlier this year when Martin granted sentences of probation and community service to two men convicted of having sex with an intoxicated 13-year-old girl -- a crime classified as rape under state law. Sentencing guidelines say a rapist should face at least 13 years in prison, but the law also says a judge can give a lesser sentence if there are "substantial and compelling reasons."

The Justice for Children Committee insisted the anti-Martin effort wasn't about one case, though the victim's mother was instrumental in organizing it. The group listed 15 cases where it thought Martin had been too lenient and pointed out she'd been reversed eight times by higher courts.

But [Dan] Watkins, [head of a committee formed to support the judge,] said it helped the judge's case that 16 jurors who heard the rape trials signed on to a list of supporters. Also, many of the cases cited by the judge's critics hinged as much on prosecutors' and victims' input as on Martin's.

November 3, 2004 at 05:13 PM | Permalink

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A judge in Massachusetts was forced off the bench after a sentencing battle with a prosecutor. He wanted a long sentence to show he was tough on crime and she publicly embarrassed him and imposed the shorter sentence she thought the defendant deserved. She had a reputation for light sentences.
Judges aren't elected or subject to voter recall. They can be impeached (never heard of it happening), overlooked for appointments to higher courts (routine), or disciplined by the judicial branch. The courts assigned a longtime enemy to lead an ethics investigation into her conduct during and after the sentencing hearing, he wrote a bad report, and she resigned rather than accept discipline.
Google 'judge "maria lopez"' for some of the story.

Posted by: John F. Carr | Nov 3, 2004 5:49:36 PM

I AM A STUDENT STUDYING CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND RESEARCHING FOR A PAPER I AM DOING ON "RAPIST", AND JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT THE GUIDELINES ON SENTENCING. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DEBBIE SMITH

Posted by: DEBBIE SMITH | Oct 22, 2005 12:30:53 AM

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