California judges would have sole, “sound” discretion to set prison-term lengths under a bill that marks the Legislature’s first attempt to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cunningham.
Senate Bill 40, which sailed through a policy committee hearing Tuesday, would empower judges to impose a minimum, middle or maximum sentence on criminal defendants without making the factual findings now required. The Supreme Court on Jan. 22 struck down a portion of California’s determinate sentencing law on the grounds that juries, not judges, must determine facts that could trigger longer prison terms.
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