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September 22, 2004

More interesting state developments nationwide

Though we all have lots of federal briefs to read, the state courts continue to work through an array of Blakely issues in an array of legal settings.

For example, from Arizona yesterday we get an interesting decision in Aragon v.Wilkinson, 2004 WL 2093357 (Ariz. App. Sept. 21, 2004), which involved a "special action petition arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by granting the State's motion to withdraw from a plea agreement that the court had previously accepted." The State sought to withdraw the plea agreement because of concerns that Blakely would preclude the imposition of an enhanced sentence, and the trial court allowed the plea agreement to be withdrawn. But the Arizona appellate court decided it should:

grant relief by vacating the trial court's order, which permitted the State to withdraw from a plea agreement entered with Aragon and previously accepted by the court. In light of Blakely, the maximum sentence the court may impose absent jury findings must be based only on the facts admitted by Aragon. However, the court may convene a jury to find any facts supporting imposition of an aggravated sentence.

From Minnesota, we get another Blakely remand of an upward departure, see State v. Behr, 2004 WL 2093999 (Minn. App. Sept 21, 2004), as well as two cases which essentially avoid the issue of Blakely's retroactivity, see Davis v. State, 2004 WL 2093964 (Minn. App. Sept. 21, 2004); Morris v. State, 2004 WL 2094675 (Minn. App. Sept. 21, 2004). From Tennessee, in State v. Cooper, 2004 WL 2093262 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 20, 2004), we get a Blakely remand in a DUI context.

In California, we get another (unpublished) decision indicating that Blakely impacts the imposition of an upper-term sentence. See People v. Sidic, 2004 WL 2095547 (Cal. App. 2 Dist. Sept. 21, 2004). And in People v. Lemus, 2004 WL 2093427 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. Sept. 20, 2004), there is a bit of sparring over Blakely's applicability in California: the majority concludes that defendant Lemus' sentence is problematic after Blakely because "the trial court's decision to impose the upper term sentences was based on fact finding on matters not contained within the jury verdicts." But Judge Benke dissented on this point, contending that "California's sentencing scheme is entirely consistent with the principles discussed in Apprendi v. New Jersey and its progeny, Blakely."

September 22, 2004 at 08:03 AM | Permalink

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