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December 7, 2007

Thoughtful Blakely opinion from Arizona Supreme Court

With all the on-going federal sentencing stories these days, I cannot keep track of all the notable Blakely issues still being worked out by state courts. Fortunately, a friend of the blog alerted me to this new opinion from the Arizona Supreme Court in State v. Price (available here) which this opening paragraph effectively previews:

We accepted review to determine whether the defendant's sentence was aggravated in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490 (2000), and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 305 (2004), which hold that the Sixth Amendment affords a right to have a jury, rather than a judge, determine any fact, other than a prior conviction, that increases a defendant’s statutory maximum sentence. The trial court imposed an aggravated sentence based on facts that the State now concedes were not found in compliance with Apprendi and Blakely.  We hold that the case must be remanded for resentencing and reject the State’s suggestion that, as a reviewing court, we should find other aggravating facts to uphold the flawed sentence.

In addition to a thoughtful majority opinion, Judge Hurwitz has a strong concurrence that starts to crack another tough Blakely nut, but is "content to leave final resolution of this conundrum to another day."

December 7, 2007 at 04:43 PM | Permalink


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