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March 7, 2005

SCOTUS rules in Shepard (and muddies the prior conviction waters)

As if the post-Blakely, post-Booker sentencing seas were not choppy enough, today the Supreme Court muddied the waters some more by finally issuing its opinion in Shepard v. United States, No. 03-9168, which concerns a judge's authority to find certain prior conviction facts.  Justice Souter opinion for the Court (in part) is available here, the opinion Justice Thomas concurring in part and concurring in the judgment is avaialble here, and the  opinion of Justice O'Connor dissenting is available here.

This case, somewhat unsurprisingly, has produced the Blakely line-up of Justices (though the Chief Justice did not participate).  And, as Lyle Denniston explains here in his helpful and astute summary, the Shepard ruling raises "the prospect that the Court may be on the verge of removing the last remaining exception to the Apprendi ban on judicial fact-finding on enhanced sentences — that is, prior convictions."

More commentary — a lot more — to follow soon.

March 7, 2005 at 10:50 AM | Permalink


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Do you see any relief from minimum mandatories under Booker, Shepard?

Posted by: Ed | Mar 18, 2005 2:13:20 PM

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