We are fortunate to live in an age where prosecutors, judges, and lawmakers are increasingly recognizing that harsh or draconian sentences may no longer serve the interests of justice. In Washington, the legislature recently passed Senate Bill 6164 (2020), which takes effect on June 11, 2020. That law allows the Prosecutor's Office to petition the court to resentence a person “if the person's sentence no longer advances the interests of justice.” SB 6164 (2020), § 1.
In particular, the new law declares that the “purpose of sentencing is to advance public safety through punishment, rehabilitation, and restorative justice.” SB 6164 (2020), § 1. Accordingly, if a sentence includes incarceration, the incarceration should be “proportionate to the seriousness of the offense” and it should also “provide uniformity with the sentences of offenders committing the same offense under similar circumstances.” SB 6164 (2020), § 1. And “after some time has passed,” “the prosecutor and court” should have a legal “tool to ensure” that the “purposes [of punishment] are achieved.” SB 6164 (2020), § 1.
The new law aims to do that by authorizing the Prosecutor, in a county where a person was sentenced for a felony offense, to petition the court to resentence the person based on a number of factors, including but not limited to things like:
the inmate's disciplinary record and record of rehabilitation while incarcerated; evidence that reflects whether age, time served, and diminished physical condition, if any, have reduced the inmate's risk for future violence; and evidence that reflects changed circumstances since the inmate's original sentencing such that the inmate's continued incarceration no longer serves the interests of justice.
However, even if the Prosecutor files a petition for resentencing, the court is not required to grant the petition. SB 6164 (2020), § 2. Accordingly, people who want to take advantage of SB 6164 face two hurdles. First, the person has to convince the Prosecutor to petition for resentencing in the first place. Second, the person has to convince the court to grant the petition.
This is where the assistance of qualified legal counsel can be invaluable. Don't just assume or hope that the Prosecutor will pick out your case, and that the court will grant a petition. Make sure you have an experienced lawyer on your side who can prepare your case, reach out to the Prosecutor on your behalf, and represent you before the judge. The attorneys of Tomlinson Bomsztyk Russ stand ready to assist you in this endeavor. Call Tomlinson Bomsztyk Russ today.