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February 21, 2006

SCOTUS grants cert in California Blakely case

As detailed in this post over at SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court this morning granted cert in one of the California Blakely cases.  As Lyle Denniston details:

[T]he Court will return to the issue of judges' power to impose sentences based on facts not found by a jury.  The issue is whether California's determinate sentencing law is invalid because the judge may impose sentences based on fact findings by the bench. The case is Cunningham v. California (05-6551).

Though this cert. grant will surely be eclipsed by the Court's decision to consider the constitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, this is still very big news for sentencing and Blakely fans.   My understanding is that Cunningham will not be heard until next October.

[UPDATE: It now seems certain that we will have all summer to ruminate over Cunningham and that Californians will probably have to wait until at least this December or next January — a full two-and-a-half years after Blakely was decided — to know if they have a constitutional sentencing system.]

Some related prior posts:

February 21, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink


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» Court to weigh abortion case from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
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» Supremes to Hear New Sentencing Case from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris The Supreme Court will bravely step once again into the quicksand of sentencing law. The Court will decide what impact the Blakely and Booker decisions have on California law. (TalkLeft background on the cases is collected here.) The... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 21, 2006 9:30:28 PM


"My understanding is that this Cunningham will not be heard until next October."

It certainly appears that way. For the cases granted today, respondents' briefs on the standard schedule are due May 12, well after the normal end of arguments for the term. They can hurry things up when they really want to, as in Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651 (1996), cert. granted May 3 (9 days after AEDPA), briefing completed May 28, argued June 3, decided June 28, but speed-ups of that magnitude are quite rare.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 21, 2006 1:30:22 PM

Does anyone know what the question presented is going to be in this case?

Posted by: Steven Walker | Feb 21, 2006 6:36:48 PM

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