ACT NO. 119
Crimes; first and second degree murder; sentencing
This act modifies the sentencing procedures for offenders convicted of first or second degree murder to comply with the constitutional requirements established by the Vermont supreme court in the case of State v. Provost, 2005 VT 134 (2005). The applicable procedure depends upon when the murder is committed.
With respect to murders committed on or after May 1, 2006, the punishment for murder in the first degree is either imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole or imprisonment for a minimum term of not less than 35 years and a maximum term of life. The punishment for murder in the second degree is either imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole or imprisonment for a minimum term of not less than 20 years and a maximum term of life.
The procedure is different if the murder was committed before May 1, 2006, and the defendant either was not sentenced before that date or had his or her sentence stricken and remanded for resentencing pursuant to Provost. In such cases, the punishment for murder in the first degree is imprisonment for life and for a minimum term of 35 years unless a jury finds that there are aggravating or mitigating factors which justify a different minimum term. If the jury finds that the aggravating factors outweigh any mitigating factors, the court may set a minimum term longer than 35 years, up to and including life without parole. If the jury finds that the mitigating factors outweigh any aggravating factors, the court may set a minimum term at less than 35 years but not less than 15 years. The procedures are identical for murder in the second degree, except that the minimum term of imprisonment is 20 years, and the court may set the term at less than 20 years but not less than 10 years.
Effective Date: May 1, 2006
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street