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February 14, 2007

California's Cunningham fix moving forward

As detailed in this AP report, a proposed legislative response to the Supreme Court's Cunningham decision is moving forward in the California legislature.  Here are some specifics:

Judges would get more discretion to sentence criminals under a bill passed Tuesday by the state Senate in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.  The court invalidated California's current law because it requires judges to choose the middle of three sentencing options unless the facts of a particular case justify a shorter or longer prison sentence. By law, many of the factors judges weigh in that decision are never considered by jurors.  The justices said it is unconstitutional to increase a sentence based on facts that were not found true by a jury.

The Senate bill, sent to the Assembly on a 36-1 vote, would end the problem by giving judges the discretion to choose any sentence within a range set by law for a particular crime.... The lone opponent, Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, said sentences should be set by a jury, not a judge as under [Senator Gloria] Romero's bill.

I find it interesting that there was a voice — but only one — urging a jury-based legislative response to Cunningham.

February 14, 2007 at 07:17 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Also interesting, Doug, is that the one voice in question is someone you probably disagree with on every other controversy in the sentencing area.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 14, 2007 11:02:53 AM

Kent: I doubt that either Sen McClintock or blogger Berman are as predictable on sentencing controversies as you might want to believe.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 14, 2007 2:24:43 PM

Perhaps, but in light of the routine demonization of tough-on-crime legislators here, I found the implicit praise of Senator McClintock amusing.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 14, 2007 7:55:50 PM

Kent: I mostly demonize "dumb on crime" legislators, and here I am praising Senator McClintock for being one of the (all-too-rare) pro-jury legislators. I am all for toughness that is truly fair and balanced and economically responsible, and I hope I do not demonize legislators who deliver toughness is sensible packaging.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 14, 2007 8:46:09 PM

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