The Untimely Death (and Rebirth?) of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
49 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2005
This essay analyzes the Supreme Court's recent decisions concerning the Federal Sentencing Guidelines' constitutionality. I argue that the application of recent 6th Amendment jurisprudence to nonstatutory sentencing rules was a legal error, and one that may carry important political consequences. Especially combined with the Court's remedial decision - to render the Guidelines advisory and require reasonableness review by the courts of appeals - I suggest that the Guidelines Cases may yield an interbranch struggle with Congress over sentencing policy that the Court is not equipped to win.
Keywords: Sixth Amendment, jury trial, sentencing guidelines, criminal procedure, sentencing, mandatory minumum
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