The Impact and Implications of U.S. v. Booker: The Sixth Amendment Versus Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines
Chicago Bar Association Record, February-March 2005
4 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2009
Date Written: March 1, 2005
In Booker, a jury found the defendant guilty of violating 21 U.S.C. section 841(a)(1), a statute which provided a minimum sentence of ten years in prison with the possibility of a maximum life sentence. Booker found to have the intent to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base (crack), and evidence established that he had almost 93 grams of crack in his duffel bag. Under these circumstances, the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual provided the district court judge with a "base sentence" of between 210 and 262 months in prison. Id. (citing United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual sections 2D1.1(c)(4), 4A1.1 (Nov. 2003)). In a post-trial sentencing procedure, outside the presence of the jury, though, the judge found that Booker had possessed an additional 566 grams of crack and that he was also guilty of obstruction of justice, both by a preponderance standard. These additional findings extended the minimum sentencing range for the defendant from 21 years, 10 months to 30 years in prison.
Keywords: Booker, jury, defendant, guilty, 21 U.S.C. 841, statute, minimum sentence, intent, distribute, cocaine, crack, obstruction of justice, preponderance standard, minimum sentence, standard, prison
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