1 year ago
Last edited at 3:10PM on 8/9/2012
It may make a difference if the law was "repealed" (the law was good but we decided not to do it that way from now on) versus having been declared unconstitutional (the law was bad from the beginning so it has to be taken back). In the first case the answer would be "no." The law was good law and you broke it. When Prohibition was repealed in the 1930's the convicted bootleggers did not get a free get out of jail card. But if a law was found unconstitutional, the law was bad law from the beginning, so you probably would be released if that were all you were charged with, or a reduction in sentence if there was something else. As ananda pointed out above, when the death penalty was declared unconstitutional, Charles Manson did not get out of jail (the law against murder was still good law), but the allowable penalties had changed, so now they had to reduce the sentence from death to life imprisonment.
When a law is changed and would change the circumstances of a prisoner 's sentence then it certainly can help get out early. An example is the changes in crack sentencing. The changes in the sentencing guidelines changed prisoners sentences who had been in prison for decades with some getting immediate release but you have to file for it. It won't just automatically adjust or void a sentence.