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August 11, 2005

More on Harris from the 7th Circuit

The Seventh Circuit today in US v. Jones, No. 04-2587 (7th Cir. Aug 11, 2005) (available here), reiterated yet again that Harris remains good law and allows judicial fact-finding for mandatory minimum sentences even after Blakely and Booker:

Although there may be some tension between Booker and Harris, the Supreme Court's extension of the Apprendi rule in Booker does not enlarge the underlying constitutional argument, which was duly considered by the Court in Harris.

The Jones ruling provides a surprisingly full discussion of this matter given that the 7th Circuit made the same point last month in US v. Duncan, No. 04-1916 (7th Cir. July 1, 2005).  As I explained in this this extended post on Duncan, that case involved a notable set of facts which could allow the Supreme Court (with its eventual new member) to review Harris in light of what Blakely and Booker have said.  This latest Jones ruling highlights that defendants will be raising this issue again and again (at least to keep it preserved) until the Supreme Court speaks directly to the vitality of Harris in light of Blakely and Booker.

August 11, 2005 at 02:04 PM | Permalink


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