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November 26, 2005

Major Minnesota Blakely ruling

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major Blakely opinion in State v. Allen, No. A04-127 (Minn. Nov. 23, 2005) (available here).  Here is the official syllabus for the nuanced Allen ruling:

1.  The imposition of an upward dispositional departure under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, based on the district court's finding that appellant was unamenable to probation, violated appellant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

2.  The district court did not violate the Sixth Amendment by assigning appellant a custody-status point in determining his presumptive sentence under the Sentencing Guidelines.

Notably, the Allen court rejects an offense/offender distinction advanced by the state to try to keep Blakely's from reaching upward dispositional departures (a distinction I develop in my article "Conceptualizing Blakely," 17 Fed. Sent. Rep. 89 (2004) (available here) and in other recent writings).  However, the Allen court does give Blakely's "prior conviction" exception a somewhat broadened scope in order to conclude that Blakely did not impact judicial factfinding concerning "custody-status points."

November 26, 2005 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

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Comments

This decision is just plain silly. Clearly there is a difference between the fact that a person committed a crime, and substantiating the State's beliefs about that person's criminal offense and that person as a criminal offender; e.g., risk. All three of these considerations have a place in sentencing. What's more, risk is indeterminate. A retired correctional administrator.

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Posted by: richard | Jun 26, 2007 1:49:39 PM

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