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August 1, 2006

Another extraordinary magnum opus from Judge Young

As detailed in this post, in June 2004, about a week before the Supreme Court decided Blakely, District Judge William Young of the District of Massachusetts issued this remarkable 174-page opinion in US v. Green concluding that the logic of Apprendi and Ring renders the federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional.  Of course, the Supreme Court vindicated Judge Young's analysis through its subsequent opinions in Blakely and Booker.

Judge Young today has issued a post-Booker opinion (running only 141 pages) in US v. Kandirakis, No. 04-10372 (D. Mass. Aug. 1, 2006) (available here) that is comparable in scope and depth to his pre-Blakely effort in Green. Because Judge Young does me the honor of quoting a remark of mine at the outset and also cites this blog within the opinion, I cannot readily provide an unbiased view of the mertis of Kandirakis.  But I can readily quote the opinion's powerful first paragraph:

For seventeen years federal courts had been sentencing offenders unconstitutionally.  Think about that.  The human cost is incalculable -- thousands of Americans languish in prison under sentences that today are unconstitutional.  The institutional costs are equally enormous -- for seventeen years the American jury was disparaged and disregarded in derogation of its constitutional function; a generation of federal trial judges has lost track of certain core values of an independent judiciary because they have been brought up in a sentencing system that strips the words "burden of proof", "evidence", and "facts" of genuine meaning; and the vulnerability of our fair and impartial federal trial court system to attack from the political branches of our government has been exposed as never before in our history.

August 1, 2006 at 04:51 PM | Permalink


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I keep seeing these rulings, etc. but bottom line how can they fix it and when will they? If things like relevant conduct, acquitted conduct are unconstitutional (and they are) why do they keep doing it?

Posted by: ST | Aug 2, 2006 12:47:24 PM

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