New Sentencing Guidelines

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp says new sentencing guidelines have taken discretion away from judges. 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 took effect in October and is intended to ease jail overcrowding. Harp says judges already considered those guidelines and strayed from them if they felt it was necessary. Harp says a problem with the new guidelines is that some defendants they believe should go to prison don't because they don't score high enough on the scale.


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