Alaska Ct. App. on Preemption: State v. Silvera

Alaska Ct. App. on Preemption: State v. Silvera

"This consolidated case raises the question of whether the statewide three-judge sentencing panel has the authority to impose a sentence below the presumptive range to lessen, or eliminate, the risk that a defendant will be deported.

The State argues that federal law prohibits state courts from modifying a sentence for the purpose of influencing the federal immigration consequences of a conviction. It also argues that the Alaska Statutes do not authorize the three-judge panel to impose a sentence below the presumptive range based on the collateral consequences of deportation. Lastly, it argues that adjusting a sentence to lessen the risk of deportation violates the equal protection clause, because the non-citizen offender may receive a more lenient sentence than a citizen would based on the same conduct.

For the reasons explained below, we conclude that the three-judge panel has authority to impose a sentence below the presumptive range based on the harsh collateral consequences of deportation and that this authority is not preempted by federal law." - State v. Silvera, Sept. 27, 2013.