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June 26, 2004

What happens now after Blakely?

I am extremely curious --- and would be eager to hear from prosecutors, defense atorneys or judges --- how sentencings are being handled after Blakely in federal courts or in states with guideline structures. Is everything on hold until further rulings? Are sentencings going forward with efforts to comply with Blakely?

Relatedly, I am extremely curious --- and would be eager to hear from commissioners and staffers --- about the discussions and debates taking place in sentencing commissions about how to responded to Blakely.

Here and here and here are links to a few new stories which suggest that a lot of head scratching is going on.

June 26, 2004 at 09:17 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Scalia seems to make it clear. If a prosecutor charges a citizen with a crime and the citizen pleads guilty or is found guilty by a jury, the sentence must be within the statutory maximum for the crime charged (which is usually quite a large range). If a prosecutor thinks that the citizen is guilty of a crime that has a higher statutory maximum, s/he will now have to charge the citizen with THAT crime and use our long suffering adversarial procedures to prove his contention, instead of charging the "lesser" crime, and then depending on "preponderance" rules during the post conviction (sentencing) phase to impose a sentence consistent with a crime for which the citizen was never given a chance to defend himself to the "beyond a reasonable doube" standard. Like Scalia, I don't think that it is too much to ask that our system maintain its integrity for each accused citizen. There is no danger of convicted criminals serving less sentence than they deserve, if we are to accept the premise that the state has the obligation to prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Things are safely where they have always been. The news?--status quo has been reaffirmed in plain language.

Posted by: Jeannie | Jun 26, 2004 1:52:27 PM

Alas, Jeannie, you have missed a big point about the decision. Within what you describe in your comment as the statutory maximum, Scalia and the majority also require that lesser limits also be termed "statutory maximums" if a law of the state (or federal system), such as a sentencing "guidelines" system, requires that the sentence not exceed that lesser limit, upon the making of specific findings giving rise to those intra-maximum, lesser limits. If the decision were only about what you describe, then I agree there would be no cause for all the brouhaha. But it isn't, and so there is.

Posted by: Peter G | Jun 26, 2004 10:55:14 PM

PG,
Thank you for highlighting the finer point of the issue, which is clearly the case in WA, probably the case regarding federal guidelines though Scalia denies it, but not as clearly the case in PA for example (the only one I have more than a passing acquaintance with). I have a question:

Though you are clearly correct about the potential for brouhaha, I suspect that same will be temporary in the larger scheme of things. That is, cleaning up current and direct appeal cases as well as the immediate future cases may take effort. Like Ring, I am convinced Blakely will not be retroactive. Then the system will settle into a new equalibrium. Do we shy away from maintaining what I referred to as the integrity of our system so that we might avoid a peak in effort? I guess it is clear what my personal belief is, but I cannot imagine an ethical defense of the alternate viewpoint. Well, I at least cannot imagine a response that leaves a system intact that is worth fighting for. Just a citizen here, but with a vested interest. (I have children.) Can you help me out here?
I apologize in advance if this is not the forun for non-lawyers, but I can't find this information on other sites.

Posted by: Jeannie | Jun 27, 2004 10:09:05 AM

Are sentencings going forward with
efforts to comply with Blakely?

Posted by: Medic Blog | Mar 19, 2011 3:51:35 AM

If a prosecutor thinks that the citizen is guilty of a crime that has a higher statutory maximum, s/he will now have to charge the citizen with THAT crime and use our long suffering adversarial procedures to prove his contention, instead of charging the "lesser" crime, and then depending on "preponderance" rules during the post conviction (sentencing) phase to impose a sentence consistent with a crime for which the citizen was never given a chance to defend himself to the "beyond a reasonable doube" standard. Like Scalia, I don't think that it is too much to ask that our system maintain its integrity for each accused citizen

Posted by: Robe de Cocktail Pas Cher | Dec 12, 2012 2:17:50 AM

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