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PLATFORM : ‘Unduly Harsh’

Koon and Powell are both first offenders for whom any prison sentence may entail substantial risks--risks that may be greater than those incurred by other prisoners. That is a plain reality of prison life. Because the appeal may take some time, and the sentences are relatively short, Koon and Powell may have to serve a substantial portion of their incarceration before we even decide their cases. This is especially true given the complex nature of the issues they intend to raise on appeal.

Most important, however, is the fact that there is no risk that Koon and Powell will flee or do harm to the community while awaiting the results of their appeal. They are no longer on the police force, so they are no longer in a position to harm anyone else in the community the way they harmed Rodney King. Nor is there any reason to believe that they would pose a danger to the community in any other respect. In these circumstances, detention pending appeal seems unjustifiably and “unduly harsh.”


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