February 12, 2009
It's A Right
The Wyoming Supreme Court remanded a criminal case for resentencing based on concerns that the judge had penalized the defendant for exercising his right to a jury trial. The basis of the concern was the following statement:
I know that generally speaking when I arrive at a sentence for someone [who has] pled guilty, I take into account the acceptance of responsibility. I take into account the saving of the effort that the guilty plea represents to the state. I take into account the saving of anxiety of witnesses who would otherwise be expected to testify if a defendant does not plead guilty. I take those things into account when I arrive at a sentence for someone who pleads guilty.
I think the corollary to that benefit to someone who pleads guilty is someone who does not plead guilty, someone who does not accept responsibility, somebody who one disregards the impact of stepping up into this witness stand and appearing in a courtroom [full] of strangers, appearing in a courtroom in front of somebody the jury determined had victimized that child. I think it’s appropriate for me to take all of those things into consideration.
The resentencing will be conducted by another judge. (Mike Frisch)
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The court could probably not do otherwise.
But having prosecuted and defended many a criminal case, I can promise you that this judge is guilty of admitting to a practice, that 95% of them engage in but are clever enough not to admit to on the record.
Posted by: B | Feb 12, 2009 3:16:23 PM