Utah offenders can argue racial bias for a more lenient sentence

A recent guideline adopted by the Utah Sentencing Commission allows a defendant or their attorney to ask for sentencing leniency because of racial bias. Leniency might be requested because bias was shown in a specific instance or because the criminal justice system itself is perceived to be biased. But, since the rule was adopted in January, no Utah defense attorneys have tried to make the case. While COVID-19 changing how courts operate plays a role in the guideline’s slow adoption, there are a few other roadblocks along the way. On this episode of “In the Hive,” two conversations about the new rule, how it might be used and the barriers that exist to actually proving bias.

Guests:
Monica Diaz, Director of the Utah Sentencing Commission
Jason Groth, Smart Justice Attorney with ACLU of Utah

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