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January 23, 2007

What will Cunningham mean for other state sentencing reforms?

Trying to figure out exactly what Cunningham might mean for California sentencing — both in terms of past sentences and future reforms — makes my head hurt.  This AP piece and this commentary covers this part of this story nicely.  And, in the days and weeks ahead as oral argument in Claiborne and Rita approach, many will debate what Cunningham might mean for post-Booker federal sentencing.

But not to be overlooked in all the Cunningham craziness is what the decision might mean for the development of structured sentencing reform in states throughout the country.  In short form, the impact of Cunningham depends largely on how a state dealt initially with Blakely: those that denied Blakely's applicability (like New Mexico) have a lot of new work ahead; those that dealt with Blakely head-on should see Cunningham as vindication for earlier efforts. 

For more background and insights on state stories, be sure to check out the recent issues of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law examining Blakely in the states.

January 23, 2007 at 08:25 AM | Permalink


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