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March 22, 2005

Maryland's developing Blakely fix

Maryland_flagBecause Maryland has an advisory guideline system, I did not think that Blakely could make the Old Line State crabby.  But I have recently been informed that two bills, which are designed to convert some statutory penalty enhancements into offense elements, have been making their way around the Maryland legislature. 

This Fiscal and Policy Note provides background on the Maryland House bill.  Here are some explanatory highlights:

Maryland has a largely indeterminate sentencing structure that features, in most instances, only a maximum statutory sentence.  While Maryland does have a sentencing guideline system to try to provide greater uniformity of sentencing for offenses, it is a discretionary system rather than mandatory and is usually not based on a finding of additional facts to determine the length of sentence.

However, Maryland does have a handful of statutory crimes that provide for enhanced penalties based on the existence of certain facts beyond the elements of the underlying crime.  The committee has recommended the enactment of legislation during the 2005 legislative session to correct this apparent defect under Blakely and Apprendi by repealing the factual penalty enhancement in the penalty provisions and to place the factual circumstance that leads to the increased penalty into the factual elements of the underlying offense to be charged as its own, separate, new offense.

March 22, 2005 at 12:38 AM | Permalink


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My son received a life sentence in 1990. He just turned 19 years old. Because of our former maryland governor, maryland is not releasing anyone on parole who committed a violent crime. I know little about the Blakely case and would like to know how it could effect, if any, people like my son? He went up for parole after serving 14 years. He was told by the parole board to come back in 10 years!!! My son did not murder anyone. Is the Blakely case related to those persons who were sentenced before the former governor's rule? i.e. meaning that anyone sentenced before that ruling would not be penalized and therefore, the Md. Parole Board would not have to follow those new guideline?

Thank you.

Posted by: Mela Gibson | Mar 1, 2006 12:49:29 PM

Dear DAB, my name is Esther Olajide. I am a student at Towson University and I am writing
a paper on Child Sex Abuse. I would like to know if you could send me a list of the sentencing by years of what an abuser would receive during sentencing for commiting a sex abuse crime if the child is under 13 years of age.

Thank You,


Posted by: Esther Olajide | Apr 12, 2006 1:49:00 PM

My brother has been in prison for 30 years. His sentence was less than life. What is that? He recently had an attorney file to the Special Appeals Court but they turned him down. They won't even let him have his time in court. This is a political mess. The courts can not find his records anywhere. I've even tried with no success. The courts and MD archives send me on a wild goose chase. His attorney can not find them either and he worked at the courthouse. The court of Special Appeals pulled a judge out of retirement to review his case. Why would they do that? No one will tell him why they denied him. They have no answers. So I am speaking up for him everywhere now. I will not shut up, I will have my voice heard until the day he is released or we have proof that this is not a political case.

Posted by: Kimberly | Mar 19, 2007 1:36:57 PM

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