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July 11, 2006

Justice Kennedy assails long sentences again

Though Justice Kennedy keeps resisting Blakely, he also keeps speaking out against lengthy sentences.  His latest comments, according to this report, came at the Ninth Circuit conference this week:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told a gathering of judges Monday that he is troubled by lengthy prison terms meted out in the U.S. "If an 18-year-old is growing marijuana for a friend, that's distribution," the Sacramento native told judges, lawyers and court officials at the conference, held at the Hyatt Regency.  "If he has his father's .22 rifle, that's a firearm. That will get 15 years. "Did you know what 15 years was when you were 18? I didn't when I was 18."

Kennedy said that sentences in the U.S. are eight times longer than sentences in Europe and that California alone has 200,000 people incarcerated. He said there needs to be more education of the public on the length of sentences. "If sentences are to be a deterrent, what is the good of them if nobody knows how long they are?" he said.

According to additional news accounts linked here, Justice Kennedy also spoke out against the lobbying efforts of correctional officers' unions: "The fact that the prison guards' association lobbies for higher penalties is sick," Justice Kennedy said.

July 11, 2006 at 11:07 PM | Permalink


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I agree whole-heartedly with Justice Kennedy. Now what can be done?

Why doesn't someone appeal on the grounds that relevant conduct is unconstitutional?

I've always believed every crime is only worth so much time and no punishment is a deterrent. I've never met a defendant yet who first considered the possible punishments before committing a crime.

Posted by: ST | Jul 12, 2006 9:22:57 AM

Justice Kennedy ought to start reversing some sentences on 8th Amendment grounds and make them hard to prove as they were during the post Blakely pre Booker days in the 9th Circuit under Ameline II, the glory days.

Posted by: Ronald Richards | Jul 12, 2006 9:45:57 AM

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