Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Another Judge Strikes Down the Guidelines - News from Waco, TX

A reader of this blog was kind enough to write to me with the following report from Waco:

Today, United States District Judge Walter Smith, Jr., Chief District Judge of the Western District of Texas, declared the Sentencing Guidelines unconstitutional. I am awaiting word tomorrow morning whether there will be a written opinion or not. His holding was that to uphold the Guidelines as would be allowable under Blakely would "allow the Government to select the charges and the punishment for the offense in question," violating the Separation of Powers provision of the US Constitution.

I don't recall a separation of powers argument in any of the previous decisions which have struck down the Guidelines. We eagerly await an opinion...

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