« US House Subcommittee hearing spotlights "Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System" | Main | Following his conviction on all counts, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán receives an LWOP (plus 30 years!) federal sentence »

July 16, 2019

Recalling some big sentencing opinions of the late great Justice John Paul Stevens

John Paul Stevens, as reported here, passed away at age 99 today. Justice Stevens was appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford and was the third-longest-serving Justice in US history. His lengthy tenure and jurispridence cannot be easily summarized, but his extraordinarily consequential sentencing work, particularly in the Apprendi and Booker lines of cases, are defining elements of the modern history of sentencing jurisprudence. And in this post, I am eager to take a few moments to note and link a few highlights in the corpus of significant sentencing opinions authored by Justice Stevens during his 35 years on the high court:

Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976),

Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 (1988)

United States v. Watts, 519 U.S. 148 (1997)

Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000)

Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)

United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005)

Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38 (2007)

July 16, 2019 at 11:58 PM | Permalink


Defense Attorney. Justice Stevens, also a WW II Vet [U.S. Navy], was the author of the majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), which held that the then Military Commissions being used at Guantanamo Bay, violated both the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four principal Geneva Conventions, Common Article 3. In the field of international criminal law and the Laws of War, this was a monumental decision.

DISCLAIMER: I authored an Amicus brief in support of Hamdan for NACDL addressing the historical use of military commissions by the U.S.

Posted by: Don Rehkopf | Jul 17, 2019 10:01:22 AM

Thanks, Don. I was sure I was forgetting some important CJ cases...

Posted by: Doug B | Jul 17, 2019 10:26:58 AM

I consider Atkins to be one of the courts most ignoble opinions. OTOH, I consider Kelo one of his best.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 17, 2019 11:01:09 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB