Chief Judge Lippman Announces Plans to Reform NY's Sentencing Laws; Seymour James Serves on Special Commission
THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015
Members of the New York State Permanent Commission on Sentencing discussed Chief Judge Lippman's felony sentencing proposal at John Jay College. From left are Judge Juanita Bing Newton, Daniel Conviser, Seymour James, Paul Shechtman, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced a proposal that, he said, will make "punishment of offenders more rational and less capricious." The New York State Permanent Commission on Sentencing, an advisory panel he created in 2010, suggested changes in a report released a few months ago and Chief Judge Lippman released proposed legislation on Wednesday based on the panel’s recommendations. Seymour W. James, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, serves on the commission.

The proposal marks the latest effort by state officials to provide clarity and certainty in sentencing for nonviolent offenses that aren’t related to sex or drugs. Currently, judges impose sentences with a broad range of incarceration times for these offenses, which means the actual time served is ultimately determined by the parole board.