Alaska sentencing standards 'anger-based,' justice tells lawmakers

Austin Baird

JUNEAU -- State Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti says Alaska judges play a limited role in sentencing and have since a 1978 law defined factors that can be considered.

Carpeneti told a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday that the approach was well-intentioned but isn't working.

Carpeneti says the intent of the 1978 law was to prevent different sentences for similar crimes based on discrimination. But he says the effect is an "anger-based" approach to justice.

He says understanding of factors leading to crime is strong enough today that judges should instead be allowed to take an "evidence-based" approach that takes more factors into consideration.

This was Carpeneti's last State of the Judiciary address. His three-year stint as chief justice ends this year.

Associated Press