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August 26, 2006

Another strong Blakely opinion from Alaska

The story of Blakely in the states, which has been relatively calm of late, will really start heating up in the Fall when the Supreme Court two big state Blakely cases.  Usefully, Alaska continues to do great Blakely work in the interim.

On Friday, the state Court of Appeals issued Cleveland v. Alaska, No. A-9054 (Alaska Ct. App. Aug. 25, 2006) (available here), which holds that the existence of a single Blakely-compliant or Blakely-exempt aggravating factor is enough to authorize a judge to exceed the presumptive term and go all the way up to the maximum term, and that it is permissible for a judge to then find other aggravating factors under a lesser burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt.   As the helpful reader noted when sending me a link to this opinion, "Judge Mannheimer's decision contained an interesting explanation of the differences between the effect of aggravators in the Washington sentencing scheme at issue in Blakely and the effect of aggravators under Alaska's presumptive sentencing scheme."

Related posts discussing great Alaska Blakely opinions:

August 26, 2006 at 08:49 AM | Permalink


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Doug, thank you for telling us about Cleveland. I concur with Judge Mannheimer that Apprendi facts are only those facts which, when found, increase the defendant's exposure to punishment above the level allowed by the verdict or plea standing alone. So, once a jury finds one Apprendi fact, or there is, like in Cleveland, facts of prior convictions which are exempt from Blakely, a judge can find other facts which affect the sentence within the range allowed.

Last week I filed a cert petition in the US Sup Ct for Carlson, claiming that ANY fact, be it an offender characteristic or an offense characteristic, is an Apprendi fact if it increases exposure to punishment above the maximum allowed under the verdict.

Bruce Cunningham

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Aug 27, 2006 3:44:18 PM

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