The Supreme Court was asked yesterday to chop 21 years off the 46-year sentence of a Washington state man for raping a teenager, reports the Associated Press. At issue is whether a 2004 ruling that limits a judge’s discretion in sentencing should apply to older cases. Eighteen states joined Washington in asking the court to refrain from applying the ruling to older cases. They said that to do otherwise “would potentially open a staggering and immeasurable number of sentences” to challenges.
In a second case heard yesterday, the court debated the scope of a federal law that lengthens prison terms of repeat offenders who commit violent crimes. The Justice Department argued that a Florida man’s jail term should be increased from no more than six years under federal sentencing guidelines to a mandatory minimum of 15 years under the Armed Career Criminal Act.