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February 21, 2006

Of additional SCOTUS interest

In addition to the exciting California Blakely cert grant (basics here), there was some other interesting sentencing-related action from SCOTUS today:

1.  Though not a sentencing case, the Court unanimously addressed (per Chief Justice Roberts) attempts to prosecute members of a religious sect for using hallucinogenic teas in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (04-1084) (available here).  Not only could this ruling perhaps have "war on drugs" implications, but it also includes an interesting riff rejecting Government arguments about the "need for uniformity."  I hope lower courts considering post-Booker sentencing issues take a cue from this unanimous Supreme Court opinion, which treats an overly-broad "need for uniformity" assertion by DOJ with great skepticism.

2.  As detailed on this order list, the Court granted the motion of the Solicitor General to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae in Recuenco, the Blakely harmless/structural error case to be argued in April.  (Lots of background on the complicated Recuenco case can be found in this category archive.)

3.  Also on the order list are A LOT of cert denieds, included some cases that surely raised Booker and other sentencing issues.  As detailed here, at least one capital cert denied is making headlines because of then-Judge Alito's role in the case below.

February 21, 2006 at 04:19 PM | Permalink

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