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October 9, 2005

Will SCOTUS notice or care about Blakely errors in Tennessee?

I discussed in this post some state Blakely cases working their way up to the Supreme Court, and among the most interesting is the Gomez case from Tennessee.  State Blakely fans should recall that, as detailed here, the Tennessee Supreme Court in Gomez found Blakely inapplicable to Tennessee's presumptive sentencing scheme through a ruling which, as detailed here, seemed to rest on a misunderstanding of Apprendi and Blakely

Significantly, all the litigants involved in Gomez, including the Tennessee Attorney General, believe the Tennessee Supreme Court got Blakely wrong in Gomez.  However, in its reply to the cert petition brought by the defendant in Gomez, the state argues that plain error/waiver issues should keep the US Supreme Court from taking up the case.  This cert opposition, which was filed last week and is available for download below, set up the issue in a manner that might get someone's attention on One First Street:

Respondent acknowledges, as it did below, that petitioners' sentences were imposed in violation of the Sixth Amendment as interpreted in Apprendi and Blakely, that Booker does not alter that conclusion, and that the Tennessee Supreme Court's assertion otherwise is in conflict with decisions of other state supreme courts applying Apprendi, Blakely, and Booker to similar facts. See State v. Allen, 615 S.E.2d 256 (N.C. 2005), and State v. Natale, 878 A.2d 724 (N.J. 2005).  Nevertheless, for the reasons that follow, review of the question presented is foreclosed on jurisdictional grounds and, in any event, is unwarranted.

Download gomez_us_sp_ct_tn_ag_response.pdf

October 9, 2005 at 02:00 AM | Permalink


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