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October 8, 2004

Forecasting Blakely's future

Though the first panel of this incredible Stanford conference I am attending is looking back at the jurisprudence which led to Blakely, the various other panels are in various interesting ways forecasting the future of Blakley. And yet, the main message I draw from the US Sentencing Commission's memo about Blakely (as well as from the SG's description of the memo) is that forecasting Blakely's future is a perilous endeavor.

Consider, for example, that the USSC memo instructively concludes that the ultimate impact of Blakely on the federal sentencing system is debatable:

[I]nitial estimates of the impact of the Blakely decision on the workload of the federal court community should be viewed with caution. Activities occurring in this period immediately following the decision will likely not represent longer term responses by the field and cause substantial overestimation of the impact. While a large number of cases may, at first blush, appear to be exposed to a Blakely effect, it is likely that far fewer cases will actually be affected because of the availability of 'solutions' (e.g., fully stipulated pleas, fully articulated indictments, waivers of Blakely, etc) in some courts or the likelihood that past practice will repeat itself (i.e., historically high plea rates prior to the advent of the federal sentencing guidelines) in courts where these options are not available.

Of course, the Acing SG states his views more directly on the uncertain impact and import of Blakely's application in the federal system, when he says in his letter to the Supreme Court that "the extent to which ...plea agreements could or would reduce the impact of applying Blakely to the Guidelines is unknown." Thus, based on both documents, it seems we can only be sure that we cannot be sure of Blakely's likely impact on the federal system.

October 8, 2004 at 02:03 AM | Permalink


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Stanford,huh? Good football team...I know why you are REALLY there...isn't USC playing Stanford?

Posted by: Jack | Oct 8, 2004 5:10:13 PM

I am a wife of an innocent man who is a victim of this sentencing catastrophe. My husband was brought into a conspiracy of about 30 people both domestic and international. He and only two other men went to court to prove their innocence. They prosecutors told him that if he went to court they where going to ask for an enhancement in his sentencing. During the trial the judge would not let the defense hardly defend their case but allowed the prosecutors all privileges. My husband was not tried separately. He was tried with the two other defendants and all but maybe one short day of a week trial was he even included in this presentation before a jury. The hear say witnesses told two different stories and that really didn't make since. I spoke with one attorney afterwards that had set in on the case the first few days and told me that he didn't see how they even where able to have a case to present in court in the first place. We had every bit of proof on paper and witnesses to show that my husband did not have a part of this conspiracy. During the trial my husbands sixth amendment was violated and our attorney Mr. John Freisell repeatedly asked for a mistrial and The Honorable Judge Harmon denied it several times and told him she was not going to grant it to him and he will have to take it up with the fifth circuit. The jury was not correctly instructed before they went to decide their verdict. The leader of this conspiracy pleaded guilty and got a maximum of 8 years and a $250,000.00 fine. Most of the rest of the defendants on this case pleaded out and are walking the streets. Please look into this case my husband is looking at life in prison. And he is the only one that has no part of this conspiracy. Please we need your help I have been sending out for help and no one will respond. After the trial another attorney looked and my husband and said with tears in his eyes and with shock in his voice and said "Mr. Ginns I just want to shake your hand because I have just watched you get ripped apart by this court and it is obvious that you did not have any reason to be apart of this trial or conspiracy. Also after the trial was over ABC labeled my husband along with two other men as running the largest ecstasy ring in Houston. Please don't turn me away I am begging for your help. We have 3 young beautiful kids who are ages know 5, 8, 8. They including myself miss him very much and he deserves to be home with his family. But these children may never see their father again. I have had to put one of our sons in therapy because of all of this. Please I beg of you help us. It is in Houston, Texas; Case #02577, Defendant 18, Ronnie Lee Ginns; inmate #14312179; Federal Court House (Southern District of Texas) He is in the Federal Detention Center on Texas Avenue. Please help us. I am desperate. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read this; please don't ignore this cry for help. There are multiple lives at stake. Sincerely, Shalee Ginns, P.S. I apologize for the miss spells I wrote this in a hurry and did not have time to go back over it. I am at work and try to fit this in between working and taking care of the house and our kids.

Posted by: Leigh | Oct 11, 2004 10:01:56 AM

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