Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SCOTUS strikes down California sentencing law

In Cunningham v. California, SCOTUS determined that California's "determinate sentencing law" is unconstitutional inasmuch as it permits a judge and not a jury to find facts leading to higher sentences. According to the majority, the Federal Constitution's jury-trial guarantee proscribes a sentencing scheme that allows a judge to impose a sentence above the statutory maximum based on a fact, other than a prior conviction, not found by a jury or admitted by the defendant.

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