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March 2, 2006

A sentencing judge's view on Foster

I noted here and here some prosecutor and defense reactions to the Ohio Supreme Court's recent big Blakely decision in Foster (basics here, commentary here and here and here).  For more telling perspectives, check out this article from the Youngstown Vindicator entitled "Law change pleases judge."  Here is a taste:

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court says he's pleased that he no longer has to "jump through a flaming hoop" when giving criminals sentences that he deems appropriate... "I think it's about time," Judge Krichbaum said.  "It is finally a return to allowing judges to be judges, to allow us to execute our duties as elected individuals as opposed to the computerized, plasticized Stepford wives they've tried to make us into."...

"The courts and the Legislature were putting form over substance," says Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains. If judges didn't make findings and record them in their journal entries, Gains said their sentences were at risk to be reversed in appeals court.  Now, "the courts will have more latitude when a defendant deserves more prison time," Gains said.

March 2, 2006 at 01:27 AM | Permalink

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Anyone who reads this will not be surprised, but Judge Kirchbaum, the judge quoted in the article, is a notorious hanging judge. These kinds of judges are the only ones who will feel liberated by Foster, since Ohio's sentencing guidelines contained so few requirements. I'm sure defendants don't feel as good as many judges do about Foster's "vindication" of the defendant's right to a jury trial.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 2, 2006 8:41:42 AM

Judge Krichbaum was a very good defense lawyer before becoming judge. He knows the law and expects a lot from attorneys on both sides of the bar. He's had a few of his sentencings come back from the 7th District for failing to comply with the now unconstitutional sentencing guidelines. I believe, as do most local attorneys I spoke with who had read the article, that the judge was just as "pleased" at being vindicated regarding his cases that were remanded for re-sentencing as he was about the new sentencing standards, whatever they may be.

I would also add that several other judges in Mahoning County also seemed pleased by the decision, though, quite frankly, I would guess most have not yet read the opinion (nor have I). I have only prosecuted cases under the guidelines, so I am not sure what to expect with those out the proverbial window.

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Posted by: richard | Jun 26, 2007 2:38:29 PM

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