« Busy non-capital sentencing times | Main | Cunningham opinion basics »

January 22, 2007

Cunningham arrives (and strikes down California sentencing)!

Apprendi, Blakely and now Cunningham ... the A,B,C of jury trial rights now includes three cases striking down state sentencing laws giving state judges undue authority to find facts to increase sentences.  Here's the initial report on Cunningham from SCOTUSblog:

Dividing 6-3, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that California's "determinate sentencing law" is unconstitutional because it allows judge's to find facts that lead to higher criminal sentences.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority in Cunningham v. California (05-6551).  The California system, the Court said, assigns to the trial judge, not the jury, authority to find the facts that expose a convicted individual to an elevated "upper term" sentence.

How huge Cunningham is for state and federal structured sentencing reforms will depend greatly on exactly what the opinion says.  But, even sight unseen, the outcome of Cunningham spotlights that a majority of the High Court is now more interested in livening up Blakely than in continuing to water it down (as did the Booker remedy).

A lot more commentary will follow throughout today once I see and have a chance to consume the Cunningham opinion.

UPDATE:  This AP account already has this quote from the opinion:

"This court has repeatedly held that, under the Sixth Amendment, any fact that exposes a defendant to a greater potential sentence must be found by the jury, not a judge, and established beyond a reasonable doubt, not merely by a preponderance of the evidence," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.

January 22, 2007 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200d834db38ac53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cunningham arrives (and strikes down California sentencing)!:

» Adipex hurt me. from Adipex for sale.
Adipex dangers. Adipex for sale. Adipex best quality best service best prices. Adipex p al bawaba blogs. Adipex. Adipex-p non-generic. Is didrex stronger than adipex. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 21, 2009 3:42:41 PM

» Boobs. from Boobs.
Huge boobs. Amanda boobs. Sexy boobs. Boobs. Baby got boobs. [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 27, 2009 9:05:00 AM

» Man boobs. from Big natural boobs.
Lanas big boobs. Pregnant boobs. Big boobs. Boobs of pamela anderson. Boobs. [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 30, 2009 7:35:56 PM

» Huge boobs. from Big boobs.
Huge boobs. Boobs. Big natural boobs. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 2, 2010 2:00:34 AM

» Big boobs. from Boobs.
Mommy got boobs. Indian boobs. Baby got boobs. Boobs. Juicy boobs. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 2, 2010 7:45:36 AM

Comments

unless of course, restitution is part of the sentence, in which case Blakely and Booker all of a sudden cease to exist.

Posted by: Brian | Jan 22, 2007 10:30:09 AM

This was the biggest no-brainer in the history of Blakely law.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 22, 2007 10:39:26 AM

Then why was the decision 6-3 and not 9-0, anon?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 22, 2007 10:47:53 AM

Perhaps Alito, Breyer, and Kennedy have brains then?

Jokes aside, it appears from the opening of the majority opinion (although I have not skimmed the entire opinion to this point) that Cunningham will not have, at least in the short-term, a direct impact on federal sentencing because the "middle term" of the DSL was treated as the statutory maximum: "The relevant 'statutory maximum,' this Court has clarified, "is not the maximum sentence a judge may impose after finding additional facts, but the maximum he may impose without any additional facts."

Posted by: SPD | Jan 22, 2007 11:03:47 AM

Because Kennedy and Breyer have never accepted Apprendi, and because Alito is willing to bend the truth re: "facts" required for enhanced sentencing to get the result he wanted.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 22, 2007 11:25:23 AM

The line was interesting, Roberts and Breyer departing from their expected roles? So is this a liberal's liberal decision? Or conservative?

Posted by: MajorMori | Jan 22, 2007 11:51:45 AM

The dissent definitely makes for strange bedfellows. I can't help but think the pairing in the dissent resembles California's now-defunct determinate sentencing scheme (lower term = Breyer, middle term = Kennedy, and upper term = Alito).

P.S. - Somebody had to be designated as the lower (whether Alito or Breyer), so just leave it alone :-)

Posted by: SPD | Jan 22, 2007 12:02:15 PM

So, people seeking more sentencing reform clearly need to look for cert worthy cases brought by a Davis or Douglas or Doe.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jan 22, 2007 12:05:06 PM

A = Apprendi
B = Blakely, Booker, and Burton (not so much now)
C = Cunningham and Claiborne

R = Ring, Recuenco (sort of), and Rita

It looks like the next case will either be a 'D' or an 'R' (am I forgetting any?).

Posted by: SPD | Jan 22, 2007 12:11:40 PM

"Roberts and Breyer departing from their expected roles?"

Roberts perhaps (hard to tell), but hardly Breyer. He bent over backwards in _Booker_ to keep his beloved Guidelines intact. Anything that props them up I would expect him to support.

Posted by: JDB | Jan 22, 2007 1:54:34 PM

My then, 19 year old nephew was sentenced to 13 years to life for beating up a police officer. He has no prior record. He's been in jail for 12 years now. The judge ignored the jury and imposed the harshest sentence imaginable. The police officer went back to work years ago. I'm looking for a lawyer who can take on this case.
Please help.

Posted by: Denise Woods | Mar 7, 2007 12:26:48 AM

My then, 19 year old nephew was sentenced to 13 years to life for beating up a police officer. He has no prior record. He's been in jail for 12 years now. The judge ignored the jury and imposed the harshest sentence imaginable. The police officer went back to work years ago. I'm looking for a lawyer who can take on this case.
Please help.

Posted by: Denise Woods | Mar 7, 2007 12:28:22 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB