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ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER
ISSUE No. 7
June 22, 2006

CALENDAR:      There are no Commission meetings scheduled for July and August. The next public meeting will take place in September.

New Jersey Sentencing News

June 17, 2006
Star Ledger
Editorial: Make the Panel Permanent

June 17, 2006
Star Ledger
Editorial: Legalize Medicinal Pot

June 17, 2006
Star Ledger
Editorial: The Death Penalty Is A Loser

June 16, 2006
Star Ledger
Anti-Corruption Bill Drops Mandatory Jail Term

June 15, 2006
Star Ledger
State to End Prison Ban on Interviews With Inmates

June 12, 2006
Star Ledger
Op-Ed: For Survivors’ Sake, Abolish The Death Penalty

June 10, 2006
NorthJersey.Com
Death Penalty Panel needs More Time

June 4, 2006
Star Ledger
Lawyer Fights Ruling That Teen Tells Date’s Parents of Sex Offender

June 1, 2006
Press Of Atlantic City
Experts Describe Barriers To Ex-Inmates’ Success After Prison

 
National Sentencing News

June 12, 2006
Reuters
FBI Reports Increase In Violent Crimes Last Year

June 12, 2006
Associated Press
Lethal Injection Appeals Allowed

June 12, 2006
New York Times
Supreme Court Says Death-Row Inmate May Use DNA Evidence

June 12, 2006
New York Times
Justices Open Door To Lethal Injection Challenges

June 11, 2006
ABA: Stop The Executions

June 11, 2006
Washing Post
California’s Crisis In Prison Systems: A Threat To Public

June 10, 2006
New York Times
Death Penalty In Some Cases of Child Sex Is Widening

June 8, 2006
Washington Post
U.S. Prison Study Faults System And The Public

June 7, 2006
Austin American-Statesman
Plan To Revive Criminal Justice Policy Council

June 6, 2006
USA Today
More Sex Offenders Tracked By Satellite

June 5, 2006
Washington Post
Supreme Court To Consider Old Sentencing

June 4, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune
Editorial: Judicial Overdose: ‘Drug Free Zones’ Take In Too Much Territory

June 2, 2006
New York Times
Judging Whether A Killer Is Some Enough To Die

June 2, 2006
Philadelphia Enquirer
Op-Ed: Mandatory Sentences, Minimum Justice

May 25, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Prison Chiefs Say No To Drug Law; School, Church Zones Misused To Beef Up Sentences, They Say

 
Document Library

Drug Policy

Death Penalty

Miscellaneous

Confronting Confinement
The Commission On Safety And Abuse In America’s Prisons
 
Commission Publications

Interim Report:

Sentencing In the 21St Century And The Necessity Of A Permanent Sentencing Commission In New Jersey
New Jersey Commission To Review Criminal Sentencing

 
Recent Sentencing Decisions

United States Supreme Court

Hill v. McDonough, __ U.S. __ (2006)
Held:
Hill was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in a Florida state court in 1983. In 2005, after Hill's appeals and habeas petition had failed, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed Hill’s death warrant, officially setting an execution date. Four days before his execution date, Hill applied to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for leave to file a second habeas petition. On the same day, Hill filed a civil rights claim in district court challenging Florida’s imposition of the death penalty under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, arguing that three of the chemicals used for lethal injection—sodium pentathanol, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride—inflict unnecessary pain. The following day, the district court dismissed Hill’s complaint, holding that it lacked jurisdiction over the claim because Hill's action was the functional equivalent of a successive habeas petition and the Eleventh Circuit had not granted him leave to file a successive petition. On the day scheduled for Hill’s execution, the Eleventh Circuit denied Hill’s application to file a second habeas petition. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Hill is entitled to challenge the state's lethal injection method as a Section 1983 federal civil rights action, rather than being limited to the more restricted habeas corpus route. But the Court, citing the interest of the state and crime victims in "timely enforcement of a sentence," cautioned that its ruling should not be read to encourage automatic stays or long delays in executions.

House v. Bell, __ U.S. __ (2006)
Held:
House was convicted of murdering his neighbor based on predominantly circumstantial evidence. During a complex period of post- conviction appeals, motions and evidentiary hearings, House produced new evidence that he claimed showed his innocence. For example, some blood samples used during the original trial were later found to have been mishandled (spilled), but the reviewing court concluded that this spillage occurred after testing had been done and so the evidence had not been compromised. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually denied House's petition for habeas corpus, holding that House had failed to meet the standard set in Schlup v. Delo, which requires the petitioner to show "that it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him in the light of the new evidence." In a 5-3 decision, a majority of the Court disagreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy described it as the “rare case” where the state’s case, when examined in light of the new evidence, was sufficiently undermined so that “it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack reasonable doubt.”

 

 
NJ Commission to Review Criminal Sentencing | PO Box 095 | Trenton, NJ 08625-0095
Tel: 609.341.2813 | Fax: 609.341.2816 | Email: bennett.barlyn@lps.state.nj.us