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June 6, 2006

Press coverage of cert grant in Burton

The MSM has just a little coverage of the cert grant in Burton v. Waddington, the case in which the Supreme Court has decided to take up the issue of Blakely retroactivity (basics here, commentary here).  The AP provides this (slightly inaccurate) description of main issue in Burton, and this local story from the Seattle Post Intelligencer provides more background about the facts in the case.

Along with others with whom I have spoken, I continue to scratch my head about why the Supreme Court chose Burton as the case to address Blakely retroactivity.  Perhaps the extent of the Blakely-violative enhancement (which produced a 20-year sentence increase) caught the Justices' attention, or perhaps they just wanted to take yet another case from Washington.  Whatever the reason for taking Burton, it is going to be a Blakely SCOTUS fall with both Burton and Cunningham coming up for argument.

June 6, 2006 at 08:23 AM | Permalink


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Please don't say "MSM" -- it makes anybody who says it sound (at least momentarily) like a far-right nut blog-addict! Same with "spot on." I prefer to think of you as a brilliant law professor. Thank you in advance. (insert smiley face of your choice here)

Posted by: Sam | Jun 6, 2006 9:02:59 AM

Uh-oh, the language police are out writing tickets again.

"Mainstream media" (MSM) is a perfectly good term for distinguishing traditional news sources from "new media," including blogs and talk radio.

Back on the substance, I was also puzzled why the Supreme Court chose this case and am even more so after reading the additional materials Doug has linked to. It seems to me there isn't an Apprendi/Blakely violation here at all unless and until they extend these rules to cover consecutive sentencing and prior offenses as aggravating circumstances. The latter would require flatly overruling a precedent, Almendariz-Torres. While the votes may be there to overrule it on direct review, I would be astonished if they did that in a habeas case. Schriro v. Summerlin showed that Justices Scalia and Thomas are not willing to throw away the limitations on habeas corpus to advance the Apprendi rule.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jun 6, 2006 12:08:41 PM

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