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January 18, 2005

Another big week for sentencing drama?

With the issuance — finally!! — of Booker and Fanfan and all the responsive sentencing buzz, last week's sentencing developments were truly historic.  (Some collected commentary on all that transpired is here and here.)  And yet, I forecast no shortage of sentencing dramas in the week ahead:

  1. Following up Judge Paul Cassell's noteworthy work in Wilson (basics here, commentary here and here), I expect at least a few other judges will issue opinions this week setting forth views on the meaning and application of Booker.
  2. Though the inauguration is a focus for most folks inside the Beltway, I still expect we will soon hear something official from the US Sentencing Commission and/or Congress about Booker.  Though I have in this post already given advice to Congress and the USSC, I hope both institutions will conduct public hearings so that various persons might share views about how best to move the federal sentencing system forward.
  3. With Booker now decided — and providing precious little elaboration on the meaning and limits of Blakely — I anticipate that state Blakely rulings will continue apace; we might even soon see major Blakely rulings from more than a few state supreme courts.  (In this recent post, I suggested that the federal sentencing story after Booker is a relatively minor (headline-grabbing) solar system within a vast Blakely universe.  This reality should be highlighted during the exciting state sentencing conference taking place at Columbia Law School at the end of this week.)
  4. As detailed here by CrimProf Blog, the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument on Tuesday in two cases involving sentencing issues.
  5. The state of California in less than 24-hours is scheduled to execute Donald Beardslee unless Governor Schwarzenegger grants his plea for clemency or the Supreme Court takes up his last-ditch legal appeal.  This article from the New York Times details the final efforts to halt Beardslee's execution, and this editorial from the Los Angeles Times asserts that Beardslee's case "demonstrates the caprice, unfairness and waste woven through California's death penalty."

January 18, 2005 at 02:33 AM | Permalink


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