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January 5, 2006

Second Circuit rejects indictment claim after Booker

Today is quite the Booker day in the circuits, with notable rulings from the First Circuit and Sixth Circuit as well as the Eighth Circuit's releasing another copious set of sentencing opinions.  The Second Circuit now adds to the fun with its ruling in US v. Sheikh, No. 05-1747 (2d Cir. Jan. 5, 2006) (available here), in which the Court rejects the defendant's argument "that the Fifth and Sixth Amendments require that district courts may only sentence defendants based on facts alleged in the indictment."

As discussed in this insightful post over at the Second Circuit Blog, the language used to rejected the defendant's claim in Sheikh could actually be a win for other defendants.  The Sheikh court states that "district courts may continue to calculate Guidelines sentences and sentence defendants based on facts not alleged in the indictment, as long as those facts do not trigger a mandatory minimum sentence or increase the penalty beyond the prescribed statutory maximum sentence, without violating the Fifth or the Sixth Amendment." Slip. at 2 (emphasis added).  As the Second Circuit Blog notes, the language I have emphasized above would actually appear to expand indictment rights in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Harris that none of the Apprendi rights apply to the application of mandatory minimums.

January 5, 2006 at 04:34 PM | Permalink

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