Will Drug Possession Ruling Mean Resentencing for Violent Offenders?
There's always fallout from actions.
That appears to be the case in the recent WA State Supreme Court ruling about drug possession. In layman's terms, law enforcement can no longer arrest a person 'just because' they had drugs in their car, home, vehicle, or anywhere else deemed their possession.
Jason Rantz of Seattle's AM 770 KTTH pointed out going into the weekend, that with possession essentially going away as an arrest tool, it will also affect sentences of previous criminals.
Rantz says when a judge sentences a suspect, they take into account previous criminal history. For example, a violent burglar who has been popped for, say, meth possession, in the past would face a longer jail time. Now, due to this Court ruling, these people will have to be 'resentenced.' He says this could result in some being released early, and back into society.
What about a pedophile or sexual offender with previous possession charges? Same deal. Upon being resentenced, they could be released even years early.
A person with such a backround is likely to be sentenced using the higher end of the time scale, more towards maximum sentence than someone without previous activity.
Rants also points out the ruling did away with a significant arrest tool. Often when authorities are having difficulty in building an airtight case against an offender, drug possession is a way to get them off the street. Rantz says often violent dangerous criminals (including those who run drug operations) are difficult to apprehend because of lack of witnesses willing to testify, or the criminal's 'skill' in hiding their operation.
However, often they are arrested in sweeps or stings because they have drugs on their person, in their car, etc. This at least gets them off the streets, and allows law enforcement more options to search and dismantle the now exposed operation.
Now, with the possession tool gone, this option goes away.
To read more of Rant's excellent assessment, click on the button below.