How Long? A Close Supreme Court Decision Trades Decades of Sentencing Reform for a Confusing Future
Legal Times, Vol. XXVII, No. 27, July 5, 2004
3 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2004
In Blakely v. Washington, the Supreme Court held that juries, not judges, must find facts that raise sentences under state sentencing guidelines and must find these facts beyond a reasonable doubt. The decision has thrown lower courts into disarray, with many courts striking down the Federal Sentencing Guidelines entirely and others warping them by knocking out the upward-enhancement provisions. The Blakely majority envisioned a regime of jury sentencing trials, but these days very few cases make it to juries; most plea bargain. The more likely result is more mandatory minimum penalties, that will ironically mean even more pressure to plea bargain and fewer jury trials in the long run.
Keywords: Apprendi, Blakely, Supreme Court, criminal procedure, sentencing, jury, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Sentencing Guidelines
JEL Classification: K14, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation