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December 12, 2004

The story of Blakely in the real Apprendi-land

0njf Though New Jersey does not have elaborate sentencing guidelines, it does have an array of structured sentencing laws that Blakely may disrupt.  (Or course, the Apprendi case came from New Jersey, so the Garden State is quite familiar with this area of constitutional jurisprudence.)  And, as detailed here and in a memo provided here, the appellate courts in New Jersey are working hard to make sense of Blakely.

NJ attorney Steve Sanders — who wrote an amicus brief for the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey in the the major New Jersey case of State v. Natale, 2004 WL 2599892 (N.J. Super. A.D. Nov. 17, 2004) — was kind enough to pass along the petition filed by the NJ Attorney General seeking state supreme court review of the Natale decision.  The petition, which includes an appendix with major Blakely rulings from NJ lower courts, can be downloaded below.

In addition to providing the state's argument for why Blakely should not disrupt NJ sentencing laws and practices, the petition details the disparate NJ lower court Blakely rulings.  (Just a few of the other intra-states disputes over Blakely's meaning and application are noted here.)  And the petition, in language reminiscent of the pleas by the Acting Solicitor General urging the US Supreme Court to grant cert. in Booker and Fanfan, highlights dramatically the impact of the Blakely earthquake in New Jersey:

[T]here is a clear split of authority among Appellate Division panels on [Blakely].  The lack of resolution of this issue has caused tremendous confusion in the trial courts, which will only continue until this Court resolves this issue.

Uncertainty regarding the effect, if any, of the Blakely opinion on our ordinary term sentencing system has had a paralyzing effect on sentencing judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutors who are unable to predict and agree on how this Court will ultimately interpret Blakely.  In the past five months since the Blakely opinion was issued, plea bargaining, jury trials, and sentencing proceedings continue to be affected by this overwhelming confusion and doubt.

Download nj_states_petition_for_certification.pdf

December 12, 2004 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

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HI I'M A WIFE TRYING TO FIND OUT ABOUTNJ SEN NJ SENTENCING LAWS.MY HUSBAND IS IN JAIL NOW OVER DURGS THAT WERE NOT HIS.WERE NOT ON HIM HE TOOK IT TO TARIL AND LOST.HE HAS NEVER HAD ANY THING TO DO WITH DURGS LOOK AT HIS JAKET.HE HAS ONE THING FOR CRIDET CARDS AND CHILD SUPPORTAND THATS IT.HE WAS GIVEN 15 YEARS HE HAS TO DO 7 BEFOR HE CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT COMING HOME CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME TRY TO HELP HIM PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THE LAW THANK YOU

Posted by: maria delbrey | Nov 18, 2005 12:16:10 PM

HI I'M A WIFE TRYING TO FIND OUT ABOUTNJ SEN NJ SENTENCING LAWS.MY HUSBAND IS IN JAIL NOW OVER DURGS THAT WERE NOT HIS.WERE NOT ON HIM HE TOOK IT TO TARIL AND LOST.HE HAS NEVER HAD ANY THING TO DO WITH DURGS LOOK AT HIS JAKET.HE HAS ONE THING FOR CRIDET CARDS AND CHILD SUPPORTAND THATS IT.HE WAS GIVEN 15 YEARS HE HAS TO DO 7 BEFOR HE CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT COMING HOME CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME TRY TO HELP HIM PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THE LAW THANK YOU

Posted by: maria delbrey | Nov 18, 2005 12:59:22 PM

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