OAN’s James Meyers
1:55 PM – Tuesday, December 26, 2023
A Washington state lawmaker who is also an ex-convict is pushing a new law where judges can reduce the sentencing of violent offenders.
According to the report, the Judicial Discretion Act has been pre-filed for the next session of the Washington legislature. Democrat state Representative Tarra Simmons will be heading the proposed law.
Simmons, the former convicted felon said that the bill would “authorize sentencing 2 courts to review lengthy sentences upon a showing that a person’s 3 original sentence no longer serves the interests of justice.”
The state lawmaker has a previous history of working to give voting rights back to felons and reducing penalties for those who commit drive-by shootings. She blames these criminal efforts on a lack of “racial equity.”
Despite record crime and homicide numbers in Washington, “The legislature finds that long-term incarceration disproportionately impacts poor communities and communities of color. The legislature further finds that an expansive body of research demonstrates that lengthy sentences can increase, rather than reduce, recidivism.”
“The legislature further finds that the potential to reduce a sentence encourages incarcerated individuals to engage in good behavior and to take advantage of rehabilitative programming. The legislature further finds that because the cost of long-term incarceration is substantial and the state must use its resources responsibly, providing judges the opportunity to modify lengthy sentences in the interests of justice will result in significant cost savings to the state.”
Additionally, the bill also stated a judge can modify a criminal’s “original sentence if the court finds that the sentence no longer advances the interests of justice, provided that any new sentence imposed shall not be greater than the original sentence.”
For victims affected by the crime, she claims that they have the option to “present a statement personally or by representation at the hearing” of a convict whose sentence is under review.
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