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April 15, 2005

Updating the state of Blakely in the states

Yesterday's major Washington Supreme Court ruling in Hughes about the application of Blakely is a great read, which covers some issues of universal concern (e.g., whether Blakely error can ever be harmless) and some state-specific issues (e.g, whether Washington trial courts can convene special sentencing juries to find facts to support exceptional sentences).  (Hughes answers both these questions in the negative, by the way.)

As this newspaper article details, Hughes is having an immediate impact in at least one case in which a jury had been convened to find facts to support an aggravated sentence following a defendant's guilty plea.  The article also effectively discussion the possible broader impact of Hughes in Washington.

The arrival of Hughes and other recent state sentencing action suggests it is time to update this post about the state Blakely pipeline.  Washington through the Hughes decision now joins four other states which have had their supreme court speak directly to Blakely issues; the others are Arizona (Brown), Indiana (Smylie), Minnesota (Shattuck), and Oregon (Dilts), although some of these rulings avoided more issues than they resolved.  And with major Blakely cases having been argued recently in California (details here) and New Jersey (details here), I suspect will we hear more from state supreme courts soon.  Also the Ohio Supreme Court now has a set of Blakely cases being briefed, Michigan has granted full review on Blakely issues (details here), and I suspect litigation is moving apace in other major Blakely-impacted stated such as Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina and Tennessee.

April 15, 2005 at 09:27 AM | Permalink

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