Panel weighs cost as factor in sentencingThe Associated Press | January 26,2013MONTPELIER — A Senate committee heard testimony Friday on a bill that would require judges to consider the expected financial costs before imposing possible sentences.
Under the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Corrections Department would develop a database that would be available to the courts listing the costs of individual sentences.
The head of the state’s attorney’s association and the defender general testified Friday that they welcomed more information about the costs of sentences, but they disagreed about whether to mandate that judges consider it.
“We don’t have a problem with financial costs being treated as relevant information, relative evidence in sentencing, in certain sentencing. We do have a problem with it being one of the criteria for sentencing,” said Bram Kranichfeld, executive director of the Department of State’s Attorney’s and Sheriffs’ Association. Kranichfeld said that requiring a consideration of the financial cost to be part of the sentencing criteria could result in unfair sentences.
Of the 14 state’s attorneys in Vermont, nine weighed in and were opposed to the proposal.
Kranichfeld argued that such a consideration would be litigated in court, using up court resources.
But Defender General Matthew Valerio told the committee that such litigation likely wouldn’t happen. Most cases result in plea agreements, which means that both sides agree to the sentences, he said.
“I don’t think that it’s an inappropriate thing for cost, in today’s day and age, to be part of a consideration. It’s what judges do all the time. They take in evidence, they listen, they weigh what’s most important, what’s least important, and they make a decision,” he said. And he said he believed that financial considerations would not be high on the list of factors considered by a judge in sentencing, including public safety and the likelihood of rehabilitation.
Sponsor Sen. Tim Ashe said the bill doesn’t bind judges to make decisions based on financial costs.
“But it makes sure that they’re making the best decision in their judgment considering in an evolving world where we now appreciate that early intervention, particularly on substance abuse, is the most effective thing that we can do,” he said.MORE IN Vermont News(Editor’s note: This is the final part of an Associated Press series of profiles on candidates... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- Pittsford Haunted House
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1720, 'Calico Jack' Rackham, Caribbean pirate and early feminist, known for recruiting women to his crew and for fabric decorating skills after creating 'Jolly Roger' flag, is captured by the British Royal Navy.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont has a new state Supreme Court Justice; city hospital says it can save plenty by upgrading its lights and trucking in natural gas; Springfield has a new town manager, former West Rutland guy, Tom Yennerall.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1307, King Phillip the Fair of France orders hundreds of Knights Templar rounded up and arrested, charged with heresy, tortured until they confess; on this day in 1917, thousands see miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Solarfest likely to be on hold until at least 2016, Great Dane involved in theft of an $89,000 shotgun leads police to the thieves, PSB will not reopen VGS pipeline case, prosecutors want evidence in body-packing drug case.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1871, After long summer drought comes simultaneous devastating upper Midwest wildfires; Chicago city center in ruins; in 1967, after brief firefight, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara captured alive in Bolivian jungle camp.