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Debate In Ala. House Stalls Over 'No Contest' Plea

Montgomery, AL – Debate in the Alabama House has broken down over a bill that would require state courts to consider past ``no contest'' pleas when deciding sentences.

``No contest'' or ``nolo contendre'' pleas are common in other states. But because Alabama doesn't recognized them, past ``no contest'' pleas are not considered by judges in determining a defendant's record.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jamie Ison of Mobile would require judges to consider past ``no contest'' please. She said in some cases defendants have gotten light sentences because judges did not consider past ``no contest'' pleas.

Opponents argued allowing judges to consider the past pleas would lead to stiffer sentences in cases where they were not warranted.

The House adjourned for the week Thursday afternoon without taking a vote on the bill.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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