Sentencing tool used by Wisconsin judges challenged - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Sentencing tool used by Wisconsin judges challenged

Sentencing tool used by Wisconsin judges challenged

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court could decide whether sentencing judges are violating the rights of convicted criminals by using a software tool that assesses their potential risk to reoffend.

Gannett Wisconsin Media reports questions arose about the assessments when a La Crosse County judge used the tool to decide probation wasn't a good alternative for Eric Loomis, who was convicted of driving a vehicle without the owner's consent and fleeing from police. Loomis' appeal questioned the scientific validity of the so-called COMPAS assessments.

The defense, in part, says the use of the tool's gender specific questions violates federal civil law. An appeals court decided against ruling on the case and instead asked the state Supreme Court to render an opinion. The higher court hasn't indicated yet whether it will take the case.

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