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May 24, 2006

Another measure of the impact of Apprendi, Blakely and Booker

TaxProf Blog and the ELS Blog are both talking about the most heavily cited court cases inspired by this recent work by Adam Steinman, which concludes with two fascinating charts in an appendix (at pages 143-45) with the 15 most-cited cases by federal courts and tribunals and the 30 most-cited cases by federal and state courts and tribunals.  These charts tell lots of interesting tales, but of course I am zeroed in on the sentencing stories.

Not surprisingly, nearly every case in both of the most-cited charts are at least 20 years old and many cases on the top 30 list of combined federal-state cites are criminal procedure classics like Miranda and Terry and Brady.  But, tellingly, there is one more recent case cracking the top 30 list of combined federal-state case cites, Apprendi v. New Jersey, even though that decision was a mere five years old when Steinman ran these numbers in June 2005. 

In addition, with the help of a few quick Westlaw searches, I think an updated chart of these cite counts might already have both Blakely and Booker cracking the top 30 list of combined federal-state case cites.  By these measures, there is now some support for my (over-heated?) claim in this seemingly long-ago Slate piece that Blakely might be "the biggest criminal justice decision not just of this past term, not just of this decade, not just of the Rehnquist Court, but perhaps in the history of the Supreme Court."

May 24, 2006 at 04:39 PM | Permalink


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