Skip to comments.'3 strikes' sentence overturned for lack of jury
Posted on 02/10/2011 12:34:03 PM PST by SmithL
A federal appeals court has overturned the 25-years-to-life sentence of a South Bay man who was caught driving while intoxicated in 1999, six years after a drunken accident that killed a passenger.
A Santa Clara County judge based his decision to sentence Rick Wilson under California's "three strikes and you're out" law on findings he made about Wilson's previous crime. That violated Wilson's right to have a jury decide those questions, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling Tuesday.
The court cited a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision that entitles defendants to a jury verdict on any factual issue that could increase their sentence. Wilson's lawyer said the ruling, if it stands, will affect many other three-strikes cases in which the defendant's record includes guilty pleas to charges that never went before a jury.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
I guess you can now plead guilty, wait a few years in jail, then claim you want a jury trial?
This will be overturned. The judge did not deny this guy his rights. And if you get right down to it, every defense lawyer could urge their client to plead guilty, so that they could challenge the sentencing.
This must be appealed, or it will affect every case where the defendant plead guilty. That would be utter nonsense.