Monday, July 26, 2004

Tennessee Update

More news from Tennessee. The Daily Post-Athenian has a good story which gets into the nitty-gritty details of Tennessee's sentencing guidelines. An interesting passage from the article quotes Tenth District Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Donaghy who says that the Tennessee guidelines can be differentiated from the Washington guidelines:

“In Washington, they have a range of punishment (sentencing) that can be exceeded if the judge finds certain enhancement factors and mitigating factors can allow a sentence of less than statute guidelines,” Donaghy said. “Our statutes have ranges and we have enhancement factors that help determine the sentence within that sentencing range.”

Sounds exactly like Washington's system to me. If any fact other than an element had to be established to get to the particular sentence, the "maximum" is not what your legislature says it is.

Any transparency requirement, any reason given for the particular sentence (even within a range) other than the bare criminal elements is going to render your statute unconstitutional.
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