The power of New York judges to order that a repeat felony offender serve a longer sentence because it will best serve “the public interest” does not violate clearly established federal law, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

Addressing three different sentences that were attacked as a violation of U.S. Supreme Court case law restricting the enhancement of sentences based on judicial findings instead of jury verdicts, the court said the state’s persistent felony offender statute as applied by the New York Court of Appeals is constitutional.

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