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September 10, 2004

Different view of deep structural arguments

As discussed here, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson's concurrence in the Fourth Circuit's Hammoud ruling provides a fascinating "separation of powers" argument for why Blakely does not apply to the federal guidelines.

Professor and FSR editor Aaron Rappaport has just completed a draft of an article — entitled "What the Supreme Court Should Do: Save Sentencing Reform, Gut the Guideliens" — which provides another and quite different perspective on these deep structural issues and their impact on the applicability of Blakely in the federal system. This article (which can be downloaded below) will be forthcoming in the next issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter (FSR's second rapid-fire issue covering Blakely). Here's a taste:

I argue ... that a principled rationale for the Supreme Court's Apprendi and Blakely decisions can be identified, a rationale that provides a basis for distinguishing the two kinds of sentencing regimes, at least in some circumstances. At the same time, this analysis does not imply that the federal sentencing system necessarily withstands constitutional scrutiny. Rather, the more nuanced understanding of Blakely and Apprendi generates a specific test for evaluating whether administrative schemes survive review. It is a test the federal sentencing guidelines may not pass, at least absent significant restructuring.

This analysis provides a preliminary attempt to ground the Apprendi and Blakely decisions on deeper constitutional values. It does not aspire to be comprehensive and, in the press of time, the discussion passes over some important issues quickly. Nonetheless, my hope is that this effort will encourage further debate about the logic of the Court’s decisions.

Download rappaport_should_do.pdf

September 10, 2004 at 11:14 AM | Permalink


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