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December 4, 2006

An intriguing note on Blakely and "civil" remedies

The latest issue of the Columbia Law Review includes an interesting Note exploring how Blakely might affect orders of restitution and forfeiture.  This Note is entitled "A Civil Jury in Criminal Sentencing: Blakely, Financial Penalties, and the Public Rights Exception to the Seventh Amendment," and is available at this link.  Here is the abstract:

In the 2004 case of Blakely v. Washington, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment's criminal jury trial right applies not only to the guilt phase of a trial, but also to the sentencing phase.  Since then, criminal defendants have brought Sixth Amendment challenges to judge-imposed restitution and forfeiture, arguing that the facts underlying such financial penalties must be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.  Many circuits have decided that Blakely does not apply to restitution and forfeiture because they are civil remedies, as opposed to criminal penalties, and thus do not fall within the ambit of the Sixth Amendment.  This Note argues that, even if restitution and forfeiture are civil in nature, the logic of Blakely suggests that the Seventh Amendment's civil jury right nevertheless applies to such penalties.  It then shows how the "public rights" doctrine — a judicial construct in administrative law used to justify exceptions to the Seventh Amendment’s civil jury right — provides constitutional support for exempting certain financial penalties from the reach of Blakely.

December 4, 2006 at 02:13 PM | Permalink


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I've read the Note, it does a nice job of exploring the Blakely/restitution intersection that federal judges have so deftly sidestepped.

Posted by: Brian | Dec 4, 2006 4:24:08 PM

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