Friday, July 16, 2004

Blakely and Delaware Sentences

Talkleft has a post about a ruling in the Federal 6th Circuit, where it was decided that Blakely Invalidates Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The Blakely ruling was in a Washington State case. The conclusion cited by Justice Scalia in the case?
Petitioner was sentenced to prison for more than three years beyond what the law allowed for the crime to which he confessed, on the basis of a disputed finding that he had acted with "deliberate cruelty." The Framers would not have thought it too much to demand that, before depriving a man of three more years of his liberty, the State should suffer the modest inconvenience of submitting its accusation to "the unanimous suffrage of twelve of his equals and neighbours," 4 Blackstone, Commentaries, at 343, rather than a lone employee of the State.
A News Journal article from a couple of weeks back, involved a sentencing in Delaware's Federal Court which was postponed so that they could decide the impact of the Blakely case upon sentencings.

Will the law have an impact upon Delaware State courts? That's a good question, and it may get an answer in court. The Journal notes that
Sentencing guidelines, used in federal courts and, with variations, in state courts, allow judges to adjust an offender's sentence within a specified range based on factors in the case. In Delaware courts, those guidelines are advisory, but in federal court, they are binding.
It's possible that the "advisory" nature of Delaware State sentences will mean that Blakely doesn't apply to them.

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