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July 30, 2004

Will state sentencing commissions do better?

Because no state sentencing system is (yet) experiencing the turmoil now transpiring in the federal sentencing system (details here), it is understandable (and even perhaps defensible) that state sentencing commissions have not yet been active participants in the discussion of sentencing reforms after Blakely. Nevertheless, I visited today the home pages of most of the state sentencing commissions and was a bit troubled to find no mention of Blakely on any of the websites except Pennsylvania's (and the brief Pennsylvania discussion of Blakely is now a month old).

I was quite encouraged to see, however, on the website of the New Mexico Sentencing Commission that there are plans in place to discuss Blakely at the upcoming Conference of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions, which is taking place next month in Sante Fe. (For details, including information on how to get an affordable NASC T-shirt, click here.)

I was also pleased to see that the "NASC is setting up an internet page through the US Sentencing Commission for individual states to submit information, documents, recommendations, proposed legislation or reports related to their state's response to Blakely." Here is a link to that page, which currently has only limited information from Kansas, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but valuably seeks "to have each state provide information so it can serve as a clearinghouse of information on the states' responses."

Finally, according to my Blakely calender, at least one state sentencing commission is going to be speaking publicly soon: this Monday, I believe, marks the deadline that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty set for a short-term report from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commissionon concerning his state's sentencing procedures in the wake of Blakely (background here). I am very eager to see what this well-regarded Commission is going to say (and perhaps not say) about Blakely.

July 30, 2004 at 05:46 PM | Permalink


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I'm a defense lawyer in Michigan. Last week, in the
Claypool case the Michigan Supreme Court announced that Blakely was inapplicable to Michigan's sentencing guideline s, because Michigan uses indeterminate sentencing. Justice Kelly observed theBlakely issue was neither briefed nor argued. Today, July 30, the Court decided the Morson case, in which it had ordered briefing on the issues raised in Blakely (slip op. p.7, note 7). However, the o;pinion never refers to Blakely again. In other words, in a case where the issue wasn't presented, it was decided, and where it was resented, it was ignored. Go figure.

Posted by: Greg Jones | Jul 30, 2004 10:08:28 PM

Dear Professor Berman. On your Website
you say you are "troubled" by a lack of State activity on Blakely. Well, be troubled no longer about the poor ol' States. Tennessee is jumping right in there and it looks like we are first.


We ( yes I am an ad hoc member along with Vanderbilt Professors Hall and King ) have already scheduled meetings and plan to have a proposal in place by Fall. Lastly, The Tennessee Bar Association Journal just published my article on Blakely in the print version. The Journal's on-line version is not up just yet. I will email when the URL becomes available . In the meantime here is the article URL on my lawfirm's ( yup I'm just a country lawyer ) website http://www.hwylaw.com/CM/Articles/Articles91.asp

I expect that the TBA's print version is the first example of a paper and ink article about the case....About 35 days between the Opinion and print Publication !!!! and ya'll say we are slow down here. I enjoy your site.Regards, David Raybin Draybin@hwylaw.com


Posted by: David Raybin | Jul 31, 2004 12:25:01 AM

David, thanks for the link to the Tennessee site coving Blakely. Your fine state deserves much praise for quick action on Blakely (both in the courts and through the Task Force created by your Governor).

Note that my post was expressing that I was "a bit troubled" by the apparent lack of public action by state sentencing commissions. Indeed, it is very interesting to me to see that Tennessee and California have been doing the most public "Blakely work" without have an established commission in place. (If I am not mistaken, I believe Tennessee once had a sentencing commission, which was abolished in the mid-1990s, right?)

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 31, 2004 7:39:25 AM

I believe Tennessee once had a sentencing commission, which was abolished in the mid-1990s, right?)

Posted by: Robe de Soirée 2013 | Dec 14, 2012 1:07:26 AM is one of the private IP Addresses assigned to a device by IANA. If you are a little bit tech freak, then you already have an idea of what is an IP Address. It is a kind of address provided by the ISP / IANA organization whenever you are connected to the internet.

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