Alabama Judge, D.A. Concerned about Sentencing Guidelines

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Gadsden, Ala.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp says new sentencing guidelines have taken discretion away from judges.

The Gadsden Times reported Sunday that several factors, including prior offenses, probation revocations, use of a deadly weapon and more, factor into whether a defendant receives a prison sentence. The new point system rubric was made mandatory in October and is intended to ease overcrowding.

Harp says judges always considered those guidelines and strayed from them if they felt it was necessary.

Presiding Circuit Judge Allen Millican says new guidelines apply to non-violent, drug and property crimes, not violent criminals.

Harp and Millican say their main concern with the guidelines is that some defendants they believe should go to prison don't because they don't score high enough on the rubric.

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