InterviewNewsJury Sentencing: Ending Virginia’s Game of Russian Roulette – Blue Virginia

July 7, 20200

Ramin Fatehi recently spoke with Cindy Cunningham at Blue Virginia, about the issue of jury sentencing in Virginia. Ending jury sentencing in Virginia is a critical reform as Cindy states, “The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (VCSC) provides to judges a range of recommended sentences for any particular offense, but a jury does not have access to this. This results not only in higher sentences on average by juries, but also increases the risk of a wildly out of range sentence. Additionally, judges have the authority to suspend all or part of a defendant’s sentence, while a jury does not have that option.” Ramin concurred on the importance:

The single most important criminal justice reform bill in the General Assembly,” explaining that “the specter of a long jury sentence under prosecution threat can put heavy pressure on a defendant to plead guilty and not exercise his right to a trial at all. An accused person’s decision to plead guilty or to ask for a jury of his/her/their peers should be in the hands of an accused person, not compelled by the trial process.”

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