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Courts, Legislature looking at sentencing rules

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In a split decision last week, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to how judges handle criminal sentencing decisions. That may not be the final word.

The defendant was convicted of assault with intent to commit murder. The defense says the judge should have to deliver a detailed explanation behind the sentencing decision – even if it fits within state guidelines. A challenge to the Michigan Supreme Court is possible. If so, this would be the second time the state’s highest court considers the case.

Attorney Deborah LaBelle with the American Civil Liberties of Michigan says the current system leaves too many open questions.

“What are the guidelines to determine reasonableness and proportionality, so I would expect that it would go back up to the Michigan Supreme Court.”

There is also a bill before the Legislature to create a commission to examine Michigan’s sentencing rules.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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