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August 14, 2004

Blakely and the Slow Flow of Cases

Post from Ron: (On the road, with plans to attend the NASC conference)
The news coverage of Blakely hits different parts of the country at different moments. It sometimes takes a remarkably long time for a District Court in a given city to be faced with a sentencing hearing that raises Blakely issues. When that happens, the local paper introduces readers to the issue with a story like this about the filing of a superseding indictment in the federal case against a former Qwest executive in Colorado, or a story like this about state prosecutors considering "exceptional sentences" against two Seattle teens accused of killing a school classmate.

Another "triggering event" would be a story about a renowned local defendant, serving a finalized sentence, who asks for retroactive application of Blakely. Here is one such story from Kentucky. Like many article from this genre, this article provides some sketchy details about what local federal judges are doing in response to Blakely and thus fills in some of the details of Blakely's impact which do not always appear in published decisions.

One of the many surprises for me about the Blakely litigation is just how many tactics are available to judges and lawyers to temporarily slow or stop the cases in what is normally a very busy criminal justice system. I certainly prefer to hear news about judges and lawyers who are applying their ingenuity to fashion a new set of sentencing and negotiation practices. But lawyerly ingenuity is also in full flower in the remarkable ability of some federal courts to slow the flow of cases, at least for a few months.

August 14, 2004 at 01:37 PM | Permalink

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