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Timothy Zerillo Speaks At Conference on Risk Assessment on Sentencing and Probation

Yesterday afternoon I was pleased to be invited to speak as the criminal defense representative for Cumberland County regarding a risk assessment pilot program they are beginning in York County. The program was titled "Risk Assessment: New Directions in Setting Conditions of Release and Sentencing," and it was co-sponsored by the York and Cumberland Bar Associations. The program is designed to give probation a chance to understand potential recidivism rates for offenders. I was asked to explain how I would approach five fact patterns from the defense perspective, which were then compared against the risk assessment determination under those hypotheticals. One of the upsides of the program is that the data encourages probation (and, hopefully, prosecutors and sentencing judges) to decrease supervision of low risk offenders. This is something that I (and the much of the defense bar) have been saying for years. It sounds as though probation in York and Cumberland Counties are beginning to agree with this position as well. Hopefully, this is a step toward rational sentencing in Maine. Keep your fingers crossed. I have been invited to speak at the Sentencing Symposium in Augusta later this month, and will report back on that as well.

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