Sentencing reform creates liability issue

For Monday,

April 18, 2011

In a recent editorial there was discussion regarding Senate Bill 106 SD1 HD1, which would require the state Judiciary to change all multiple sentences to be served simultaneously (“Legislature steps over judicial line,” Our View, Star-Advertiser, April 14).

This means that a person with two or more sentences would remain incarcerated only for the amount of time of the longest sentence.

This bill is seriously flawed. For example, if a prisoner is currently serving two consecutive 10-year sentences and has completed 14 years (of a 20-year sentence), the prisoner will now be released. Will the state then be liable for the four years that this person was incarcerated beyond the term? How will the state manage hundreds or thousands of potential lawsuits?

The retroactive aspect of this bill exposes the state to potential liability.

Finally, this bill micromanages judges by converting sentences of criminals serving consecutive terms for more heinous crimes.

Judges should be allowed to do their jobs without interference from the Legislature.

Rep. George R. Fontaine House District 11 (Kihei, Wailea, Makena)

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