Judges may get more leeway

first_imgSACRAMENTO – 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. An estimated 10,000 or more criminals could seek new sentences because of the ruling. Each day the state delays a new sentencing law means more criminals can file a challenge, said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero. The lone opponent, Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, said sentences should be set by a jury, not a judge as under Romero’s bill. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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