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June 18, 2008

Intriguing Apprendi habeas decision from Seventh Circuit

Through a lengthy opinion today in Mack v. Battaglia, No. 06-3257 (7th Cir. June 18, 2008) (available here), the Seventh Circuit turns away an interesting Apprendi claim coming from an Illinois prisoner.  Here is the start of the panel's analysis in Mack:

Mack’s case comes down to a single, discrete issue.  Mack contends that his natural life sentence violates the principle of Apprendi because there was no jury determination establishing the facts necessary to impose an enhanced sentence, and Mack never waived his right to have a jury trial as to his sentence.  He maintains that this error was not harmless and that the state court errors prejudiced him.  He argues that double jeopardy principles bar another sentencing trial, and that he should therefore be re-sentenced to a maximum term of up to forty years’ imprisonment.

The panel concludes that Mack's natural life sentence did not violate Apprendi, but it takes a long and interesting opinion to get there (and to thereby avoid other issues Mack raised).

June 18, 2008 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This is the best place I could think of to post this, and I am sorry that it is not quite germane to the subject at hand. I know that alot of people who both contribute to and comment on here are concerned with property rights. Perhaps the most egregious example of government's usurpation of such rights is the 2005 case of Kelo v. New London. To mark the anniversary of this loss and the subsequent gains made at the state level against eminent domain abuse, Susette Kelo is trying to garner 10,000 donations to The Institute for Justice (The firm which represented Kelo)this Monday 23 June, go to ij.org/keloday and pledge $5 or whatever you can afford. This a good cause, and one that, no matter your political bend,everyone can embrace.

Posted by: layedback | Jun 18, 2008 4:16:21 PM

The length of the opinion in Mack is due to the unusual waiver issue presented, which requires a rather detailed rendition of the long case history.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jun 18, 2008 5:16:51 PM

The court's conclusion didn't seem at all that controversial and seemed pretty straightforward.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 18, 2008 6:35:26 PM

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