Friday, July 23, 2004

Good Morning - It's Time for a Blakely Update

New Mexico - In New Mexico, U.S. District Judge Bruce Black is reported to have bifurcated a trial in which the jury was asked to return a verdict on thr primary offense first. After finding the defendant guilty, the jury was asked to consider whether he obstructed justice. The case is US v. Ramos-Martinez.

For weeks now, many have claimed that this very procedure would be too difficult and burdensome to carry out.

Enron News - New indictments have been issued in the Enron case (now Blakely friendly)

The re-indictments affect six people charged with conspiracy in the sham sale of electricity-producing Nigerian barges and seven ex-Enron executives accused of touting the company's broadband network as having capabilities it never had to drive up Enron's stock price.

Both sets of new indictments claim each scheme caused the loss of more than $80 million, an allegation that can add years to a sentence, the Houston Chronicle reported in its Friday editions. Also covering the Enron story is the Houston Chronicle.

It's good to be Jeff Fisher - He argued Blakely in the Supreme Court and won. He also won another case for criminal defendants last term. Learn about the one time English major here.

US v. Lockett, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13710 (No. 3:04CR017) - Eastern District of Virginia (Now available as a pdf here)

United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson has declared the application of the guidelines unconstitutional in a case where the government was seeking two sentence enhancements. Judge Hudson writes:

The two sentencing enhancements at issue in this case -- the additional drug weight and the firearm possession -- were neither contained in the indictment nor included in the statement offacts. Consequently, and pursuant to the defendant contests the assessment of those enhancements. In opposition, and based on confidential source information, the government urges the Court to apply the two enhancements. The resulting tension creates the type of factual issue specifically found by the Court to be constitutionally fatal.

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