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Supreme Court says judges should consider inmate’s rehabilitation

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says judges can consider an inmate’s rehabilitation at resentencing, but they aren’t bound by earlier court decisions.

Jason Pepper served 24 months for conspiring to distribute methamphetamines — but then a different judge tacked on 41 more months, and Pepper went back to prison.

Pepper says the second judge should have been bound by the findings that the first judge used to determine the original sentence. Pepper also says the second judge should have given more weight to his post-incarceration rehabilitation, which included finding a steady job and getting married.

The Supreme Court now has sent back the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

The justices say judges aren’t bound by previous sentencing decisions, but they should consider a person’s rehabilitation.