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Law professor quoted in Nogales publication

Carissa Byrne Hessick
July 07, 2011

Professor Carissa Byrne Hessick was quoted in a July 5 article in the Nogales International, “Could assertions of innocence hurt Garcia-Von Borstel’s cause?” by reporter Jonathan Clark.

The article discusses former Nogales Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel’s no-contest plea in a bribery case and guilty plea in a subsequent case in which he and his father were accused of defrauding Western Union of more than $600,000. Clark questioned whether Garcia-Von Borstel’s assertion of innocence in the first case might annoy a judge enough to land him more time in jail.

“A failure to accept responsibility or lack of remorse is a somewhat common sentencing factor that judges look at,” said Byrne Hessick of the College of Law.

“So pleading no contest, a judge might decide that that reflects a lack of acceptance of responsibility. But public statements to the effect that, ‘I didn’t do this, but I had to plead because I did this other thing,’ also suggests not taking responsibility.”

To read the article, click here.

Hessick teaches Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Federal Crimes. Her research focuses on aggravation and mitigation in criminal sentencing, the criminalization and punishment associated with child pornography, and other political and doctrinal issues associated with sentencing. She recently published an article in the California Law Review on the constitutionality of common sentencing factors. She has also published articles on whether military service and other good works ought to be treated as mitigating sentencing factors and on the severity of sentences associated with the possession of child pornography.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law