High Court, 5-4, Upholds Oregon Sentences Without Jury Finding


The Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that keeps hundreds of Oregon criminals from having to be resentenced, reports the Statesman Journal in Oregon. The 5-4 decision upholds the state’s position and reverses the Oregon Supreme Court, which ruled in 2007 that a jury had to make factual findings before a judge can impose consecutive prison sentences on a criminal. “This is a big win for law enforcement in Oregon,” said Attorney General John Kroger.

The high court ruled in 2004 that juries, not judges, must make factual findings if judges choose to enhance some sentences allowed under the law, such as adding time because a victim is elderly. The court’s ideological split was not evident yesterday. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the decision, joined by Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and John Paul Stevens. Dissenting were Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the court’s 2004 decision, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

Link: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20090114/UPDATE/90114048

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