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October 7, 2004

The exclusive 500 club

As of this week, the Blakely decision has perhaps made its case for the legal Hall of Fame. As all true baseball fans know, the 500 Home Run Club is an exclusive group and every eligible member is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Blakely has now officially joined the (less discussed) 500 On-Line Lower-Court-Decision Club.

On Lexis this morning, a search of "Blakely & Sentenc!" after June 24, 2004 produces a total of 510 "hits." Though a few of these "hits" do not involve a Blakely legal issue (but rather a defendant with the surname Blakely), I feel confident declaring that Blakely, barely more than 100 days since being decided, has now officially joined the 500 On-Line Lower-Court-Decision Club. (Interestingly, on Westlaw this morning, a search of "Blakely & Sentenc!" after June 24, 2004 produces only 486 hits. I suppose Lexis can claim more pop in its legal bats.)

Of course, there must be thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of court determinations impacted by Blakely that do not appear in a written, on-line decision. Recall that Acting SG Paul Clement started his argument in Booker and Fanfan by noting that there are 1200 criminal sentencings in the federal system each week. That means there should have been, in just the federal criminal justice system, a total of 16,800 sentencings since Blakely was decided 14 weeks ago. My guess — and this is only a guess, because it is so hard to get hard data during these chaotic days — is that most of these sentencings have been delayed or otherwise impacted by Blakely. Throw in all the state cases affected by Blakely (only partially detailed here), not to mention the impact on charging, pleas and appellate practices, and I am feeling even more confident in my claim a few months ago here that "Blakely is the biggest criminal justice decision not just of this past term, not just of this decade, not just of the Rehnquist Court, but perhaps in the history of the Supreme Court."

And those of you really interested in numerology may be intrigued to know that this is my 521st post — tying the home run totals of both Ted Williams and Willie McCovey — and there have now been 638 comments to date on the blog.

October 7, 2004 at 07:54 AM | Permalink

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At 7:32 p.m.EST I performed the following Lexis search in the Federal and State Cases, Combined database:
blakely pre/2 washington and date >6/23/04

573 cases.

Posted by: Michael Ausbrook | Oct 7, 2004 8:36:42 PM

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