NY Court of Appeals – People v. Quinones

In People v. Quinones, which can be found by clicking here, the New York State Court of Appeals again upheld the constitutionality of the discretionary persistent felony offender sentencing scheme.  The Court again explained that under New York’s scheme, a defendant is subject to an enhanced sentence based solely on the existence of two prior felony convictions – which places New York’s scheme outside the scope of Apprendi. Another distinguishing feature of New York’s sentencing scheme is that it is only after a defendant’s eligibility for an enhanced sentence is determined that a judge is given the discretion to choose the appropriate sentence within a sentencing range prescribed by statute.  Notably, the Court made no mention of the recent Federal Court decisions finding the statute unconstitutional.