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DA challenging review panel

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January 16, 2006

Bainbridge, Georgia-- Former District Attorney, Brown Moseley, is leading a charge against Georgia's sentence review panel. "We're contending that their entire existence is not supported by the Georgia constitution," he says.

Moseley's lawsuit stems from Sandra Widner's plea bargain of voluntary manslaughter. She shot her boyfriend, Truett Turner, in Calhoun County in 2002. The plea was accepted by the judge, the victim's family, and Widner, but last year, her sentence was reduced from 15 to eight years.

"If you look at the Georgia constitution, it specifically names the courts of this state that have judicial power. They are not named," says Moseley. Tuesday in Atlanta, Moseley will argue to the Georgia Supreme Court that the three judge panel violated its own rules. "They don't review a negotiated sentence unless there are extraordinary circumstances. There were none shown," says Moseley.

If Moseley's challenge prevails, Widner's original sentence could be reinstated, and the law creating the panel thrown out. "Every judge in this state ought to be embarrassed and humiliated with what this panel did on this case. It is a joke," says Moseley. A possibility that will be decided within four months.

Moseley says only the Board of Pardons and Paroles should be able to review and change sentences.

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