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August 29, 2004

An "official" Blakely scorecard

With thanks yet again to another FOB ("friend of blog"), I have received and provide for download below a copy of a fascinating memorandum dated August 27, 2004 sent to all federal judges, judicial executives, court clerks and chief probation officers. The memo comes from US District Judge Sim Lake (SD Texas), Chair of the Committee on Criminal Law of the Judicial Conference of the US, and concerns "Sentencing Documentation in Light of Blakely v. Washington."

The whole three-page memo, and its attached form, merit full examination. Here are some of the highlights to whet your appetite:

The Judicial Conference Committee on Criminal Law has been closely monitoring the courts' responses to Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004). Some courts continue to sentence in accordance with the federal sentencing guidelines, including relevant enhancements. Other courts are partially applying the guidelines, and some courts are not applying the guidelines at all. At the direction of some circuit courts and in the interest of judicial economy, some district courts are also announcing, at the time of sentencing, alternative sentences in the event the Supreme Court rules in a way that invalidates the original sentence. Some courts are stating alternative sentences for illustrative purposes, recognizing that further judicial action may be necessary, while other courts may be imposing alternative sentences intended to be self-executing so that no further action would be required if the initial sentence were invalidated. In addition, some courts are imposing three separate sentences: a guideline sentence, a guidelines-as-advisory sentence, and a sentence ignoring only the sentence-enhancing components of the guidelines....

Since Blakely was decided, the Committee has had ongoing dialogue with the United States Sentencing Commission and the Federal Bureau of Prisons on how best to standardize data collection to reflect the district court rulings with respect to sentencing decisions. The United States Sentencing Commission has determined that part of its mission of monitoring application of the guidelines includes recording how Blakely is impacting sentencing decisions.

To assist the Commission in this effort, the Committee recommends that courts complete the attached “Supplemental Statement of Reasons,” which indicates generally how Blakely was applied in a case.


Download judicial_conference_memo.pdf

August 29, 2004 at 06:19 PM | Permalink

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