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September 16, 2004

Great work by another federal district court

Interesting and diverse opinions keep coming from the federal circuits courts (examples here; see also US v. Montgomery, 2004 WL 2050164 (9th Cir. Sept 15, 2004)), as well as from the state appellate courts (examples here; see also People v. Shaw, 2004 WL 2053260 (Cal. App. 3 Dist. Sept. 15, 2004)).

However, through a terrific decision yesterday in US v. Johns, 2004 WL 2053275 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 15, 2004), US District Judge Christopher Conner showed off how important district courts remain —and how much district judges can teach us — in this post-Blakely world.

Johns is a must read for many reasons, and it cannot be succinctly summarized. But a few highlights can perhaps give you a sense of the decision's potency. The opinion starts with lovely understatement, "Sentencing issues that were routine a mere three months ago now merit a full opinion," and articulates at the outset that "the court believes that Blakely and its predecessors compel one holding: The constitutional rights recognized in Blakely are both applicable to and consistent with the United States Sentencing Guidelines."

Thereafter, following a lengthy and thoughtful disquisition on various Blakely issues, the opinion concludes with this flourish:

Blakely is an evolution, not a revolution. It is supplementary, not contradictory. Far from sounding the death knell of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, Blakely supports full operation of those provisions. It affirms that defendants do not shed their constitutional rights to a jury trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt at the start of sentencing proceedings. Honoring these rights requires only a conceptual bifurcation of sentencing procedure: A determination of the "statutory maximum" must precede and cabin a determination of the Guidelines sentence. Blakely is both applicable to and consistent with the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

And, if that was not enough, the decision also provides "a standing practice order governing future criminal proceedings" attached as an appendix to the opinion.

September 16, 2004 at 01:05 PM | Permalink


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I am looking for information on U.S. vs. Lyle Gerald Johns. Last information I have is a Corrected Order Granting Motion to reconsider denial stay pending the supreme court's decision in United States v. Booker. Can you give me any information?

Posted by: Sheila Knott | Feb 7, 2005 11:24:34 PM

Still attempting to get status on Johns case. Has no current decision been decided. Can you give me another source which I might explore to get current information on this case. Thank You.

Posted by: Sheila Knott | Mar 3, 2005 3:08:16 PM

I see the Supreme Court rejected Johns plea for consideration in his case. I have also found he is no longer an inmate in Beaumont, Texas. It is my understanding he is now an inmate in Florida. Do you know why he was relocated, and where. Thank You.

Posted by: Sheila Knott | Jan 12, 2007 10:32:41 PM

I used to race with Gerald in the 60's and 70's and was interested in any info and a contact method. What state is he in? Thank you - call or text 520 307 8348

Posted by: john kaufmann | Mar 6, 2014 8:16:41 PM

Wanted any info on Gerald. I was an old friend

Posted by: john kaufmann | Mar 6, 2014 8:18:25 PM

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