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December 13, 2005

Eleventh Circuit approves sentences based on hearsay evidence of uncharged murders

In his opinion for the majority in Blakely, Justice Scalia expresses concern about defendants possibly being punished for an uncharged murder and possibly being punished based on weak hearsay testimony proven to a judge only by a preponderance of the evidence.  If these issues truly concern Justice Scalia (and other members of the Blakely majority), the Supreme Court ought be interested in a cert. petition coming from today's decision by the Eleventh Circuit in US v. Baker, No. 00-13083 (11th Cir. Dec. 13, 2005) (available here).  (Tech warning: the PDF of this opinion is causing Adobe to crash for me sometimes.)

Starting at page 124 of an 137-page opinion(!!), the 11th Circuit in Baker affirms long sentences for a number of co-defendants in a large drug conspiracy on the basis of hearsay testimony concerning their involvement in an uncharged murder.  Fans of Crawford debates will especially enjoy the court's work in footnote 68, where the Eleventh Circuit explains why Crawford is to be inapplicable at sentencing.

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December 13, 2005 at 05:56 PM | Permalink

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