New Appellate Cases
Sentencing – Constitutional Proportionality
A 25 year prison sentence is not disproportionate for “a single act of digital penetration that occurred briefly while he toweled off a three-year-old child after she had been playing in a sprinkler.” The court considered the sentence applying the factor test established in State v. Rodriguez/Buck: (1) the fact that there was only one incident does not affect the underlying seriousness of the offense; (2) convictions for unlawful sexual penetration of a child and convictions for rape are similar enough to qualify for the same sentencing; (3) defendant’s criminal history included two prior convictions for burglary. State v. Alwinger.
Sentencing – PPS Term Must Be Determinate
A court may not impose an indeterminate term of Post-Prison Supervision in order to avoid exceeding the statutory maximum for an offense. In this case, defendant was convicted of coercion, which carries a maximum of 60 months. The trial court sentenced him to 58 months in prison plus 36 months PPS but also ordered that his PPS term would be reduced according to how much time he actually served in prison, to avoid exceeding a total sentence of 60 months. The Court of Appeals vacated and remanded for resentencing, holding that each component of a sentence (i.e., prison time as well as PPS) must be determinate. State v. Mitchell.
These summaries were written by Aleksejs Babics and Mike Saltzman.