Judge or Jury? Judges Reject Mandatory Sentence Procedure

Common Pleas judges in a central Pennsylvania county have voted 4-2 to reject the state's mandatory minimum sentencing laws based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

In Alleyne vs. United States the high court ruled that a jury, not a judge, should decide whether certain factors that trigger a mandatory sentence have been proven. The case involved a man whose minimum sentence increased from five to seven years in prison after a judge determined the man's accomplice brandished a weapon during a robbery.

The Altoona Mirror reports the issue was raised in a Blair County drug case in which prosecutors were seeking mandatory sentences.

District Attorney Richard Consiglio called the decision a “sad day for society” and says he'll appeal. Defense attorney Tom Dickey says state legislators must amend the mandatory sentencing rules.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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