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April 21, 2005

Interesting work from the Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, through a pair of decisions concerning the application of the state's truth-in-sentencing laws, has documented today that there are plenty of contentious sentencing issues that have nothing to do with Blakely.  As detailed in this AP report, state Supreme Court today "on 4-3 votes in separate decisions rejected petitions by two inmates to have their sentences modified to reflect the less harsh penalties from the second truth-in-sentencing law that took effect in 2003."  (Recall that last fall, as detailed in posts here and here and here and here, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a terrific series of sentencing articles entitled "Locked In: The Price Of Truth In Sentencing.")

The specifics of the decisions in State v. Trujillo, No. 2003AP001463-CR (Wisc. Apr. 21, 2005) and State v. Tucker, No. 2003AP001276-CR (Wisc. Apr. 21, 2005) (both available for download here) will likely only be of great interest to Wisconsin lawyers.  However, I found the following passage from Trujillo a suprisingly candid statement of a factor that likely impacts many high courts considering sentencing challenges:

We are also concerned about the possibility of opening the floodgates if we hold that the reduction in maximum sentences for TIS-II crimes constitutes a new factor.  Between the time that TIS-I was enacted on December 31, 1999, and the date of TIS-II's implementation on February 1, 2003, more than 10,700 adults were admitted into Wisconsin's prison system with one or more TIS-I sentences. If we agree with Trujillo's new factor analysis, there is certainly the potential that most TIS-I offenders could seek a sentence modification on similar grounds.

April 21, 2005 at 02:16 PM | Permalink


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hello. i have a friend who was sentenced today to one year in jail, six years probation, for a class h felony. 1st offense ever. this is too harsh in my view. we live in wisconsin. can u please tell me the right path to choose for an appeal? thank you very much

Posted by: andrew tesar | May 11, 2005 7:04:46 PM

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