Federal Sentencing Rules Are Wrongly Applied

Federal Sentencing Rules Are Wrongly Applied
Posted by CN Staff on January 12, 2005 at 08:50:03 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 
Washington -- The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that federal judges have been improperly adding time to criminals' sentences, a decision that puts in doubt longtime sentencing rules.The court, on a 5-4 vote, said that its ruling last June that juries -- not judges -- should consider factors that can add years to defendants' prison sentences applies as well to the 17-year-old federal guideline system.
The justices refused to backtrack from a 5-4 decision that struck down a state sentencing system because it gave judges too much leeway in sentencing. But the high court stopped short of striking down the federal system.Justice Stephen Breyer said the federal sentencing system is at least in part invalid because it forces judges to use the guidelines.About 64,000 people are sentenced in federal courts each year, under a system that had been challenged as unconstitutional in a pair of cases at the Supreme Court.The divided ruling Wednesday took longer than expected. Justices had put the issue on a fast track, scheduling special arguments on the first day of their nine-month term in October. Most court watchers expected a ruling before the holidays.The federal guidelines are intended to make sure sentences do not vary widely from courtroom-to-courtroom. While juries consider guilt or innocence, judges make factual decisions that affect prison time, such as the amount of drugs involved in a crime, the number of victims in a fraud or whether a defendant committed perjury during trial.The high court's vote to require more jury participation was 5-4 and included the same odd right-left combination of justices as those who had held sway in June. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are the court's most conservative members. Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are in the liberal wing.In a dissent, the other four justices wrote: ``history does not support a `right to jury trial' in respect to sentencing facts.''Complete Title: Federal Sentencing Rules Are Wrongly Applied, Court RulesSource: Associated Press (Wire)Published: January 12, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:FAMM Madness Assails Sentencing Laws Kennedy Speaks Out 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 12, 2005 at 10:27:19 PT
Thank you. What a nice web site. I'm listening to the music now.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on January 12, 2005 at 10:15:48 PT
Selah, Fom, Selah
"Drawn from the Psalms of David, selah suggests taking the time to pause and reflect, even as their music invites you to immerse yourself in the joy that it conveys." --Selah :: Contemporary Christian Praise And Worship Music Group
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 12, 2005 at 09:30:21 PT
We are watching the news and I still don't understand what they are saying. I hope it is a really good thing. I know someone will write an article soon that will help explain this to us better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on January 12, 2005 at 09:25:58 PT
This Decision Augurs Well for Angel's Case
Pray for peace.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 12, 2005 at 08:51:15 PT
Good News
I'm surprised!
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