Commonwealth v. Lehman

This case involved two juvenile lifers who were recently resentenced to a term of life with the possibility of parole. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Lehman did not address whether those sentences were proper. Instead, the issue was costs. At the resentencing hearings, the Commonwealth called expert witnesses. In one of the consolidated cases, the expert’s fee was more than $15,000, and in the other case, the expert’s fee was more than $20,000. The sentencing court imposed those costs on the defendant. Notwithstanding the fact that the defendants had been in custody since they were children, and would likely find reintegrating into society rather challenging, the sentencing courts thought it good public policy to saddle them with insurmountable debt, too. The Court conceded that costs of sentencing could be charged to the defendant. But in this instance — resentencing a juvenile lifer — the costs could not be charged to the defendant.

Davis