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October 24, 2004

Blakely, mandatory minimums and the safety valve

In yet another interesting district court ruling from Utah, US District Judge J. Thomas Greene in US v. Aguilar Guilardo Parra, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21133 (Oct. 20, 2004), thoughtfully explores the impact of Blakely in the application of certain mandatory minimums and the so-called "Safety Valve" provision of USSG § 5C1.2 and 18 USC § 3553(f). Judge Greene explains that "Blakely does not require jury involvement in connection with any increase of a sentence under the Guidelines where such increase results from prior conviction(s) [and] Blakely does not apply to any action by the court which would decrease rather than increase a sentence," and consequently "Blakely is not implicated and does not apply to sentencing issues in this case."

The decision in Aguilar Guilardo Parra is both cautious and contained in its analysis, but it merits a read for its thoughtful review of the scope of Blakely and Judge Greene's determination that he can make needed factual findings under the Safety Valve without regard to Blakely. In addition, Judge Greene's thoughtful non-Blakely discussion of the Safety Valve and of the acceptance of responsibility guideline are noteworthy.

October 24, 2004 at 09:23 AM | Permalink

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