Law: Toward More Uniform Sentences

Despite double jeopardy, prosecutors can appeal light terms

The crime: racketeering. The verdict: guilty. The sentence? There was the rub. The judge imposed ten years in prison, but federal prosecutors in Rochester wanted the mobster put away for a period closer to the 34-year maximum.

So the prosecutors took advantage of an unusual provision in a 1970 law that allows the Government to appeal certain sentences. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal on the grounds that a review of the original sentence would violate the Constitution's prohibition against double jeopardy. But last week the Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4,...

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