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August 22, 2004

Blakely week in review

Though last week proved to be a relatively quiet Blakely week, some of my pre-week Blakely questions were at least partially answered. The true hallmark of the week was the federal circuit courts' willingness to leave Blakely questions unanswered or only partially answered.

We are still awaiting opinions from the Fourth Circuit in Hammoud and from the Sixth Circuit in Koch. With the time these courts are taking to explain their opaque alternative sentencing orders, I suspect some interesting dissents may accompany these courts' opinions. (Also, since the orders in Hammoud and Koch were nearly word-for-word identical, I cannot help but wonder if there might be some inter-circuit sharing of ideas and text. Does anyone know if judges on different courts are allowed to do "group projects"?)

Adding to the uncertainty this week was the Eighth Circuit's decision to take Pirani en banc (details here), thereby leaving the Eighth Circuit with no binding Blakely precedents and leaving everyone waiting for en banc arguments which are (mysteriously) to be "held at a time and place to be announced."

The news from the states this week was partial but always interesting, as detailed in posts about Blakely developments in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Indiana. And, as detailed here and here, one-time guest blogger Ron Wright earned even more thanks from me for a number of insightful reflections based on his time at the NASC Conference this week.

Finally, though I think Judge Joseph Goodwin's opinion in US v. Johnson (details here) is still the most engaging recent Blakely decision, I was wowed by Judge James Gwin's opinion in US v. Onunwor (details here) and also by my own DOJ-inspired visual rendering of Blakely (and the best set of comments on the blog) available here.

August 22, 2004 at 02:08 PM | Permalink


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I'd bet $5 that one of the judges of the 4th Circuit was sitting by designation on the 6th Circuit recently, or vise versa...

Posted by: former clerk | Aug 23, 2004 9:22:23 AM

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