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October 10, 2006

Some media coverage of Cunningham

Perhaps because Blakely issues are so intricate, there has been little media attention given to in Cunningham, even though it is surely the most significant Apprendi/Blakely case that the Supreme Court has heard in two years.  Thus, I was pleased to see Cunningham get a little coverage this morning in this California newspaper article.  Here is a snippet:

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday about a Contra Costa County case that could decide how much discretion California judges have when sentencing convicted criminals. The ruling could change the fundamental laws of sentencing that have guided trial judges for the past three decades.

"In terms of impact on the judicial process, this is huge," said Laurie Levinson, Loyola University School of Law professor. "It could blow apart the California sentencing scheme."...  The justices are being asked to determine whether California judges have the authority to decide the truth of aggravating factors, or whether a jury should decide that. The decision could impact convicted criminals awaiting sentence, those currently appealing their cases and possibly even those who have exhausted their appeals, Levinson said....

Ultimately, the justices need to decide between two extremes, said Robert Weisberg, Stanford School of Law professor. In one scenario, judges would sentence a defendant to the middle term unless a jury finds the aggravating factors as true. The other option is giving the judge complete discretion. "Right now, it's hard to tell how the law is supposed to operate," Weisberg said.

Some additional Cunningham basics:

October 10, 2006 at 07:38 AM | Permalink

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