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January 17, 2006

The joys of the Blakely-Booker interregnum

The start of the Seventh Circuit's opinion today in US v. Hawk, No. 04-4112 (7th Cir. Jan. 17, 2006) (available here), allows us all to think back to those salad days between the Supreme Court's decisions in Blakey and Booker:

Between the appearance of Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), in which the Supreme Court found that Washington state’s sentencing scheme violated the Sixth Amendment, and that of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), in which the Court extended Blakely's holding to the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the federal sentencing world was in limbo. No one knew whether the Court would distinguish the Guidelines from the state law it had considered in Blakely, scrap the Guidelines altogether, or come up with some intermediate ruling.  This case concerns a sentence imposed during this period of uncertainty.  Although the district court was remarkably prescient and predicted the outcome of Booker by treating the Guidelines as merely advisory, it moved a little too quickly through Quill R. Hawk’s sentencing hearing.  The court accepted the recommendation in Hawk's Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) of a 121-month term, but it failed to make the findings of fact necessary to support that sentence.  This omission prevents us from assessing the reasonableness of the sentence; we therefore vacate Hawk's sentence and remand for resentencing.

January 17, 2006 at 01:29 PM | Permalink


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Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! - Wordsworth

Posted by: 3L | Jan 18, 2006 2:33:38 PM

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