March 26, 2015 |
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Republicans and "special sessions", never a good combination.
Not lately, no.
Oh great. Another $40,000 dollars down the tubes, unless they go 2 days. Fiscal conservative my derrière. They should be paid a straight salary, not a daily salary. Their sessions are getting longer and longer.
I am not a Brownback fan, but he has no other choice since there is a horrible case that has been sent back. Laws have to be changed to fit the new stupid ruling. The question is what the blazes is going on with the Supreme Court. Killers get off, coronations are people, and as they take a strong stand on illegal aliens with one hand are giving them freer reign with the other. Talk about trying to figure out what is legal by the constitution has become impossible.
Are you frigging kidding me?! What is wrong about the Supreme Court? Sentencing guidelines that allow a judge to impose lifelong punishment outside the realm of a jury impinge on our constitutional rights. The whole 5th amendment "due process" clause and all that.....
If an individual has committed an act so heinous that a "life sentence" should be mandatory than a jury of one's peers should decide it. The state should have never relied on this sentencing process in the first place. You should be thankful you live in a nation with a strong court that checks governmental overreach.
My concern would be that the radical Republicans of the legislature could address not only the "hard 50" correction, but other social agenda issues, much like the Texas special sessions that initiated restrictions on abortion. Would this session have a single mission or be wide open to the whims of the wacky?
The hard 50 issue could be handled by next years legislature. No one is thinking that with a 6 month window between now and the next legislative session that there would be a "fire sale" for "soft" sentences. Is that really worth the $40,000+ required for a one or more day session?
In 2000 the Supreme Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey said that all elements of a crime had to be decided by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt and that judges, alone, could not enhance sentences. Apprendi was based upon the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial. In 2005, in U.S. v. Booker, the Supreme Court held, based upon Apprendi, that sentences could not be enhanced by judges beyond the Guidelines without a jury trial determination beyond a reasonable doubt. It should not shock anyone that Alleyne v. United States said, a jury had to determine if the mandatory minimum sentence was to be enhanced. What was the Kansas Legislature, dominated by Republicans, doing the past 14 years? Were they, like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, closing their eyes and hoping Alleyne was not the natural consequence of Apprendi?
The funny thing is going to be the passage of some statute consistent with Alleyne that says the jury gets to decide whether Hard 50 is imposed as a minimum sentence and the Republicans are going to stand up and say, "We's done a good job." But current cases on appeal are not going to be subject to the new Hard 50, because a jury did not decide it (and I have never heard of appellate juries) and not retroactive because of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution.
Drat that Constitution stuff!
You missed the important one, though. Harris v. US (2002), in which the Supreme Court declined to extend the Apprendi rule to mandatory minimums.
Harris was wrong and happily the Court explicitly overruled it in Allenye, but legislatures across the country were not stupid or foolish or cowardly lion-like for relying on it.
But, yes, I agree it is a non-starter that cases where that are still pending either on appeal or in district court cannot involve the Hard 50. I can't imagine the prosecutors involved in this process don't know that deep down in places they don't talk about at press conferences.
I'll bet the Koch bros must be behind this too!!!! What kind of extremist would want to make sure convicted criminals stay in prison?
There's actually a lot of money in privatizing prison systems, and a lot of money savings in private industry use of prison labor, both of which are things ALEC has supported.
I can't see that this is a pressing issue. Where's the emergency?
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