NJ Commission to Review Criminal Sentecing Banner
ISSUE No. 17
April 24 , 2007

CALENDAR: The commission will release two major reports at a media event on Friday, May 4, 2007, in committee room 1 in the New Jersey state house annex at 11:00 a.m.  All are welcome to attend.

New Jersey Sentencing News

April 15, 2007

Drug Courts Offer A Viable Alternative

April13, 2007

Don’t Punish All Ex-Cons

National Sentencing News

April 19, 2007
The Tribune

Statewide Commission Makes Sense

April 19, 2007
Albany Times-Union

Assembly Advances Drug Law Changes:  Revisions To Rockefeller Rules Need Approval By GOP Controlled Senate

April 17, 2007
Chicago Tribune

Op-Ed: Prosecutors Owe Duty To The Public   

April 15, 2007

Changes Weighed On Prison Sentences:  Patrick Reviews Mandatory Terms

April 13, 2007
Los Angeles Times.com

Court Rules On Death Penalty, Retardation

April12, 2007

Op-Ed: Tough On Crime vs. Smart on Crime

April 11, 2007
Charleston Daily Mail

Jail Crowding Difficult To Fix

April 11, 2007
The Tribune   
Lawmakers May Take on Criminal Justice Reform With Commission

April 11, 2007
National Public Radio

The Forgotten War on Drugs

April 11, 2007

State Sentencing Bill Advances: Despite Broad Opposition, Measure To Ease Prison Crisis Clears A Senate Committee

April 11, 2007

Op-Ed:  Sentencing Is Linchpin On Prisons

April 11, 2007

Minnesota Drug Laws: Are They Too Harsh?
April 10, 2007
Montgomery Advertiser

Program Aims to Help Inmates Adjust To Life

April 5, 2007
St. Petersburgh Times

Florida Felons Will Have Civil Rights Back Sooner After Vote

April 5, 2007
New York Times

New Mexico Bares Drug Charges When Overdose is Reported

Document Library

Apprendi’s Domain

Apprendi’s Domain
Professor Jonathan P. Mitchell

Drug Policy

Updated Report On Drug Offender Sentencing Issues
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission

Racial Disparity

Prosecutorial Decision-Making And Racial/Ethnic Disparities In The Federal
Criminal Justice System:  Principles and Guidelines Brennan Center For Justice             

General Sentencing Policy

The California Sentencing Commission:  Laying The Groundwork
The Stanford Executive Sessions On Sentencing And Corrections

Death Penalty

Challenging The Intrastate Disparities In The Application Of Capital Punishment Statutes
Andrew Ditchfield

Fiscal Implications

Report To The Legislature
Oregon Criminal Justice Commission


West Virginia’s Correctional Population Forecast: 2005-2015 – A Study Of The State’s Prison Population
West Virginia Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center


Recent Sentencing Decisions

New Jersey

State v.  James Thomas,   N.J. Super.  (App. Div. 2007)
Docket No. A-6422-04T4

Held:  In this cross-appeal, the Appellate Division addressed and rejected two constitutional challenges to the Attorney General’s Brimage Guidelines. The first Brimage issue raised by the State was whether the trial court erred by imposing a lower sentence than that negotiated between the State and defendant pursuant to the Brimage Guidelines and based on the court's belief that the agreement violated defendant's constitutional rights because it imposed a greater sentence for having invoked his right to a suppression hearing.  The Appellate Division held that the trial court erred in imposing the lesser sentence.  Specifically, the Appellate Division rejected the trial court's reasoning that defendant has been "penalized" for exercising his constitutional right to file a motion to suppress. The Appellate Division reasoned that prosecutors may . . . reasonably consider [the] early disposition of cases as an important law-enforcement objective when entering into plea agreements with defendants.

The second Brimage issue, raised by defendant, was whether the Brimage Guidelines, which were promulgated by the Attorney General to address negotiated-sentence agreements violate the principles of Blakely v.
Washington and State v. Natale.   The Appellate Division determined that the Brimage Guidelines do not violate the recent cases affecting
sentencing.  Having negotiated a particular sentence with the prosecutor, defendant waived the right to have a jury find the facts necessary to support that sentence. The Appellate Division noted further that defendant did not receive a sentence greater than the "presumptive" or mid-range term because of the prosecutor's reliance on any aggravating or
enhancing factor. Rather, defendant received the maximum sentence solely because of the timing of the plea.

State v.  Eliezer Thomas,  N.J. Super.  (App. Div. 2007)
Docket No. A-3152-04T5

Held:  In this appeal, the Appellate Division relied on the overwhelming weight of federal authority to conclude that the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment does not bar a sentencing judge from determining the amount of restitution in a criminal case.

United States Supreme Court

James  v.  United States,   U.S.   (2007)

Held:  In this appeal, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court  ruled against Alphonso James, a Florida man with three prior felony convictions, including one for attempted burglary. As long as an offense presents a serious potential risk of injury to another person, it satisfies the requirements of the Armed Career Criminal Act, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. Attempted burglary under Florida law satisfies the requirement, Alito added. In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the boundaries of the act are "ill-defined" and that the Court's majority failed to provide guidance that can be applied consistently by the hundreds of district judges that impose sentences every day.

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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