Police & Fire

Committee rejects mandatory life sentences in domestic violence murders

AUGUSTA, Maine — During a work session Wednesday, a legislative panel rejected an Aroostook County family’s plea that members endorse a bill calling for a mandatory life sentence when defendants are convicted of domestic violence homicides.

Instead, the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee unanimously endorsed an amendment that calls for judges to give “special weight” at murder sentencings if “the victim is a family or household member.”

If passed by lawmakers, it would amend a law that already calls on judges to give special weight at sentencings if the victim is under the age of 6 or the victim is a pregnant woman. Those provisions were passed in 2000 and 2005, respectively, after the families of victims urged lawmakers to require stiffer penalties for defendants in homicide and manslaughter cases.

Sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, the measure would be know as “Amy’s Law,” according to a news release issued Thursday by the Senate Democratic office.

The Fiddlehead Focus / St. John Valley Times staff are pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Committee rejects mandatory life sentences in domestic violence murders,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Judy Harrison, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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