The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

May 15, 2014

Blair County bench rejects mandatory sentence procedure

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Common Pleas judges in Blair County have voted 4-2 to reject the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

In Alleyne vs. United States the high court ruled that a jury, not a judge, should decide whether certain factors that trigger a mandatory sentence have been proven. The case involved a man whose minimum sentence increased from five to seven years in prison after a judge determined the man’s accomplice brandished a weapon during a robbery.

The Altoona Mirror reports the issue was raised in a Blair County drug case in which prosecutors were seeking mandatory sentences.

District Attorney Richard Consiglio called the decision a “sad day for society” and says he’ll appeal. Defense attorney Tom Dickey says state legislators must amend the mandatory sentencing rules.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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