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July 20, 2004

Huge news from the Sunshine State

In what I believe is the first on-the-record Blakely ruling of note from Florida, we get a whopper in US v. King, No. 6:04-cr-35 from United States District Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the Middle District of Florida (Orlando division). In what, from a quick read, looks to be a very thorough and thoughtful opinion, Judge Presnell concludes:

Taking Blakely to its logical conclusion, the determinate scheme set up by the Guidelines violates the Constitution and can no longer be used in any case. The Court notes, however, that despite a return to an indeterminate sentencing scheme, it will continue to rely on the Guidelines as recommendations worthy of serious consideration. Slip op. at p. 12 (emphasis added).

In a breath-taking passage that seems to agree with a point I made here (and that Martha Stewart might have hoped would have been rendered a few days earlier), Judge Presnell explains:
The suggestion that courts use the Guidelines in some cases but not others is at best schizophrenic and at worst contrary to basic principles of justice, practicality, fairness, due process, and equal protection. Courts simply cannot apply a determinate sentencing code to one defendant whose sentence raises no judicial fact-finding enhancement issues and a separate discretionary scheme to another defendant whose sentence does raise enhancement issues. Such a structure not only seems to violate equal protection principles but would lead to the perverse result that both Government and criminal defense attorneys would plot to finagle their way into the determinate system or indeterminate system depending on the judge and the various factors relevant to the particular defendant’s sentence.

Wowsa!! Lots more commentary about this decision and other recent developments later tonight. In the meantime, here is the full opinion for everyone's reading pleasure:
Download us_v. King.pdf

Unconfirmed rumor: When an Orlando lawyer involved in the King case was asked, "The Guidelines have just been declared unconstitutional in all cases, now what are you going to do?", he said, "I'm going to Disneyworld!!"

July 20, 2004 at 05:45 PM | Permalink

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» Blakely: Federal Judge in Florida Declares Sentencing Guidelines Unconstitutional from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy reports that in a first Blakely ruling from the federal courts in Florida, United States District Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the Middle District of Florida (Orlando division) finds the federal... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2004 8:27:03 PM

Comments

Defense lawyer. Federal. Macon, GA. Very helpful site. Keep up the good work.

Frank

Posted by: Franklin J. Hogue | Jul 21, 2004 6:10:02 PM

The Court notes, however, that despite a return to an indeterminate sentencing scheme, it will continue to rely on the Guidelines as recommendations worthy of serious consideration.

Posted by: Robe de Soirée 2013 | Dec 13, 2012 12:21:29 AM

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