LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas Supreme Court justice called for a review of the state's criminal code on Thursday after the court overturned a man's 25-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon because of two conflicting laws regarding habitual offenders.
The Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Chariell Ali Glaze, who was convicted in Faulkner County and sentenced as a habitual offender.
Jurors were told Glaze faced between 20 and 30 years in prison under sentencing guidelines. Glaze argued this sentence conflicted with a more recent law that would subject him to between five and 40 years in prison.
Justices ruled that the more recent law is more comprehensive since it includes additional provisions providing for the sentencing of habitual offenders convicted of serious and violent felonies. The court called the conflict between the two laws "irreconcilable."
"The fact that Glaze received a sentence of 25 years, which falls within the sentencing range of both statutes, is irrelevant as there is the possibility that the jury would have returned a sentence less than the minimum set forth," under the law used to sentence Glaze, Justice Paul Danielson wrote in the court's 6-1 opinion.
Justice Robert L. Brown wrote in a concurring opinion that the case and others recently submitted to the court over perceived conflicts in state sentencing laws raises the need for a study of the code.
"Even though this court has found no repeal by implication in several recent cases, the argument is still consistently being raised by defendants, making at least a review, if not a revision, of our criminal code warranted," Brown wrote.
The court rejected Glaze's other arguments in his appeal that the lower court should not have sentenced him as a habitual offender and that the court should not have allowed prosecutors to file an amended complaint charging him as a habitual offender on the morning of his trial.
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