State v. Edgar Torres

Edgar Torres was charged in a series of bank robberies over the course of several years. He first went to trial on three of them, was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The sentence ensured that he would not get out of prison until he was 77 years old. After he was convicted of the second set of robberies, the court had to decide how to sentence Mr. Torres.

The court found that he was likely to commit another crime and that he needed to be deterred. The court then imposed a 30 year sentence and ordered it to run consecutive to the previously imposed sentence.

The Amicus brief argued that courts cannot consider questions of recidivism and deterrence without considering the fact that Mr. Torres would not be released until he was 77 – an age where violent crimes are almost never committed. The brief explains that when courts find certain aggravating factors in virtually all cases, those factors cease to help differentiate between defendants. And while  courts need not support every finding of fact with empirical analysis, where there exist clear data to undermine a finding, courts cannot ignore it. 

Status

After oral argument on November 10, 2020, the case remains pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

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