State Supreme Court Will Try To Resolve Confusion About Harsh Sentences

Denver (AP) The Colorado Supreme Court plans to try to clear up lingering confusion over a ruling that limits judges' ability to issue harsh punishments. The judges will review six criminal cases to settle questions stemming from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that limits judges' ability to order longer–than–standard sentences, but the Colorado court will let stand the case of a former Forest Service worker convicted of setting a forest fire.

The State Supreme Court refused Tuesday to review a lower court ruling that a 12–year prison sentence for Terry Lynn Barton was too severe. Barton, who pleaded guilty to arson, will be resentenced. Her term was double the normal sentence.

Barton was convicted of setting the 2002 Hayman fire, which
burned 138,000 acres in the Pike National Forest and destroyed
133 houses.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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