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September 22, 2004

Insights about Blakely's impact in Ohio

As noted here and here, Ohio appellate courts have expressed a variety of views about the meaning and application of Blakely in Ohio. Helpfully (or perhaps not too helpfully), attorneys with the Ohio Sentencing Commission have issued an entertaining and informative, but not in any way definitive, Blakely memo. The memo, which can be accessed here, effectively canvasses different ways in which Blakely might impact Ohio state sentencing law. But, as the introductory snippets below highlight, the memo hardly provides a conclusive assessment:

This memo discusses the Blakely case and two plausible — dramatically different — interpretations of how it might apply to judicial fact-finding under Ohio’s current criminal sentencing structure.

On June 24, 2004, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Blakely, sending shudders through many state houses and courts. The High Court held that facts considered by a judge in criminal sentencing — other than criminal history — must be authorized by the jury’s verdict. Scholarly observers asked, “What the heck does that mean?” How courts answer the question could mean that Ohio’s criminal sentencing structure is basically sound or that critical changes are needed....

Perhaps capturing a fairly universal view on Blakely, in the midst of the memo's analysis there is this astute comment: "If you are confused by Blakely and its competing interpretations, you’re human."

September 22, 2004 at 11:45 AM | Permalink


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