Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Retroactivity and HB 463

Defendants with pending cases on or after June 8, 2011 should be able to “opt in” to applicable provisions of HB 463.
446.110 Offenses committed and rights accruing prior to repeal of law.
No new law shall be construed to repeal a former law as to any offense committed against a former law, nor as to any act done, or penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred, or any right accrued or claim arising under the former law, or in any way whatever to affect any such offense or act so committed or done, or any penalty, forfeiture or punishment so incurred, or any right accrued or claim arising before the new law takes effect, except that the proceedings thereafter had shall conform, so far as practicable, to the laws in force at the time of such proceedings. If any penalty, forfeiture or punishment is mitigated by any provision of the new law, such provision may, by the consent of the party affected, be applied to any judgment pronounced after the new law takes effect.
Two requirements must be met for a defendant to be entitled to have the new law applied to him:
1. Prior penalties under the law have to be “clearly mitigated” by the new law, and
2. The defendant has to give unqualified consent to having the new law applied to his case.
Commonwealth v. Phon, 17 S.W.3d 106 (Ky. 2000); Rogers v. Commonwealth, 285 S.W.3d 740 (Ky. 2009)
Formal written motions should be filed to ensure the benefits of the new legislation or to preserve any issue relating to applicability of the new law. The motion should explain why the new provision is “clearly mitigating” and express the unqualified consent of the defendant to the application of the new provision.
Contributed by Damon Preston