Tennessee could teach California something about criminal sentencing, the United States Supreme Court says, according to The Tennessean. The high court cited Tennessee as a model this week when struck down California’s sentencing system as unconstitutional, casting doubt on the sentences of thousands of prisoners.
Tennessee had a similar sentencing structure to California’s. After a 2004 Supreme Court decision called into question sentencing schemes nationwide, Gov. Phil Bredesen formed a commission to help Tennessee fix its structure to withstand any challenges. “If we had not acted, we would have had utter disaster, which is what’s going on in California today,” said Nashville attorney David Raybin, who was on that panel. The new ruling means that about 10,000 of California’s 173,000 prisoners may be eligible for reduced terms.