The California Attorney General's Office [official website] on Thursday appealed a federal judge's decision striking down two sentencing laws. Judge Lawrence Karlton held that the laws were unconstitutional [JURIST report] because they affected the punishment for crimes committed before the laws were enacted. Marsy's Law [text], otherwise known as the "Victims' Bill of Rights," was passed in 2008, mandating that inmates serve longer periods of time between parole hearings. Meanwhile, Proposition 89 [text], entitled the "Governor's Parole Review," was passed in 1988 to allow the governor to reverse approved paroles in murder cases. The attorney general's office filed a notice of appeal [AP report] with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website].
This is the most recent case in a changing environment of sentencing guidelines. Last month New York announced plans to reform sentencing [JURIST report] in a way that would reduce the use of solitary confinement [JURIST news archive] and ban solitary confinement for prisoners under 18 years old. In January the US Supreme Court relaxed sentencing guidelines [JURIST report] for drug dealers. In October three companies behind private juvenile detention and treatment facilities involved in a northeastern Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal [JURIST news archive] settled [JURIST report] a civil lawsuit for $2.5 million. In June the US Supreme Court limited the way sentencing courts can use prior convictions to enhance sentencing [JURIST report] for federal crimes.