A look at Michigan sentencing after court strikes law


By: Associated Press

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court’s milestone decision to strike down state sentencing guidelines and make them “advisory” only will influence how defendants are sentenced for years ahead.

Lawyers say this week’s 5-2 ruling may be the court’s biggest criminal ruling in years.

Some defense attorneys say sentencing will be fairer now as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. Judges were always free to depart from the guidelines range when setting a minimum sentence. But now they have more leeway.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper is likely to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. She fears sentencing disparities among defendants will be exacerbated.

The decision could help bolster Gov. Rick Snyder’s call for sentencing changes in part to spend less on incarceration.