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August 6, 2004

Minimizing in Minnesota

Post from Ron:
Now that I've read the Minnesota Commission report more carefully (background here and here), allow me a few observations.

First, the decision to allow the Commission to take the lead in both diagnosing and fixing any problems is so ... sane! It just had to happen in Minnesota.

Second, the Commission goes out of its way in this report to explain how small and manageable the problems are. The report says time and again that Blakely affirmed the validity of presumptive guideline sentences, and the problem in Minnesota is really limited to the upward departure sentences. No changes in the basic structure, with its twenty years of history, is needed.

There are some hard numbers to back up this claim. Although there were 1002 upward departures in Minnesota for 2002 (counting both dispositional and durational departures), only 79 of those cases went to trial and the Kansas experience suggests that the number of trials will not go up quickly now. In addition, about 50-60 cases per year involve special "statutory enhancements" such as predatory sex offenders or career offenders that might create Blakely problems.

But in a couple of unobtrusive paragraphs late in the report, the Minnesota Commission notes two loudly ticking time bombs. Blakely might affect all cases involving a "custody status point" (an additional criminal history point added if the current offense was committed while still on probation or parole status from a previous crime), and Blakely could affect all probation revocations. These two categories could dwarf the 79 + 60 cases with big Blakely issue noted earlier in the report.

One last observation: the report rightly points out that prosecutors involved in Blakely negotiations or litigation will have additional obligations to follow up with victims and explain the situation. Can you imagine how those conversations might go?

August 6, 2004 at 06:33 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Thanks Ron...for taking over! Couldn't go ten days without a Blakely fix or trying to find info myself each day. Appreciate it... from a non attorney. John

Posted by: John | Aug 6, 2004 9:16:27 PM

I'm glad to try this; a real adventure for an academic!

Posted by: Ron | Aug 7, 2004 10:39:56 PM

Thanks Ron...for taking over! Couldn't go ten days without a Blakely fix or trying to find info myself each day. Appreciate it... from a non attorney. John

Posted by: Robe de Soirée 2013 | Dec 14, 2012 2:17:21 AM

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