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December 20, 2005

The echoes of Blakely where it all began

Today the newspaper The Columbian has this very interesting article, entitled "Judges eye more say over penalties," about the next wave of Blakely debate in Washington state. Here's how the article begins:

The state's Superior Court judges want back some of the discretion they had to impose stiff sentences for violent crimes before the U.S. Supreme Court took it away from them two years ago.

They want the 2006 Legislature to make Washington's mandatory sentencing guidelines nonbinding, and they seek authority to double the maximum sentence the guidelines allow in "exceptional" cases.  Without that discretion, they say, they are being forced to mete out sentences far too lenient for some heinous crimes.

But a state commission is recommending that lawmakers reject the judges' request for new sentencing authority and nonbinding guidelines.  The commission's majority says that could return Washington courts to the days before sentencing guidelines were enacted in the early 1980s, when judges in different parts of the state imposed widely varying sentences for the same crimes.

December 20, 2005 at 07:41 AM | Permalink

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