Today's Des Moines Register features an excellent article on a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could really put some pepper in the sentencing process.
The case involves Jason Pepper, now 31, who was arrested seven years ago in Akron, Ia., on drug charges. He later pleaded guilty. He served his prison sentence and was released. But prosecutors repeatedly appealed his sentence, claiming it was too light.
Today, Pepper is 31. He is married, he has a job, and he has a child on the way. But if the Supreme Court rules against him, he could be headed back behind bars.In the federal courts, sentences can get appealed -- and reversed by appellate courts -- frequently, sending the defendant back to the trial court for another sentencing hearing. While the timeline in Pepper's case is full of twists and turns (see the article's helpful sidebar), the question for the Court is pretty simple: if the defendant rehabilitated himself after his first sentencing, should a judge be allowed to consider that rehabilitation at the second sentencing? (Oh, by the way, even the prosecutors think the answer should be yes!) With so many sentencings and resentencings, the answer to this question could impact a lot of people, which is why FAMM has filed a "friend of the court" brief in Pepper's case. You can read FAMM's thoughts and brief at our website.