Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Tuesday News

I'm back on track. Here's today's news.

California Cases

The Second, Third, and Fourth Appellate District Courts of California have denied, without prejudice, any relief to defendants until the California Supreme Court decides People v. Black, S126182, and People v. Towne, S125677. See People v. Brown, 2004 Cal. LEXIS 7563 (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 11, 2004); People v. Lopez, 2004 Cal. LEXIS 7531 (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 11, 2004); People v. Street, 2004 Cal. LEXIS 7553 (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 11, 2004).

Using some vivid imagery, Judge Yegan of the Second Appellate District Court of California has ruled that Blakely doesn’t apply to the imposition of consecutive sentences in People v. Vonner, 2004 Cal. App. LEXIS 1334 (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 16, 2004). We’re heard that before, but the opening paragraph of the opinion is worth reading:

Contrary to the numerous contentions in the deluge of supplemental briefs now being filed in the California Appellate Courts, it is not at all clear that the United States Supreme Court opinion in Blakely v. Washington (2004) __ U.S. ___ [124 U.S. 2531] has sounded the death knell for California sentencing laws. It remains to be seen whether the Determinate Sentencing Law has been bruised, battered, or born into a better world. n1 Here we only conclude that Blakely does not impact a sentencing court's imposition of a full consecutive sentence for an enumerated violent sex offense. (Pen. Code, § 667.6. subd. (c).) n2

News Stories

Law.com reports: 2nd Circuit Upholds Guidelines Until High Court Rules.

The Sentencing Commission has a new chair, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa. The Sentencing Commission web page has a press release available about Judge Hinojosa. There's no mention of Blakely (surprise).

The Grand Rapids Press has an editorial entitled, "Sentenced to chaos: U.S. Supreme Court ruling needs clarification – soon." The editorial offers a look into the federal district courts in Michigan:


In the wake of the Blakely case, a federal appeals court that serves Virginia, Maryland and three other states, recommended that its judges issue two rulings. One would be based on the current guidelines, which the court urged judges to continue following. The second is provisional and uses the guidelines only as "advisory" in case a later Supreme Court hearing throws out the federal rules.

U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell in Grand Rapids has similarly issued two sentences. District Judge Gordon Quist, also in Grand Rapids, has declared the sentencing guidelines unconstitutional under Blakely, though he continues to adhere to them as a practical matter. The same is true for District Judge Richard Enslen of Kalamazoo. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, meanwhile, has ordered prosecutors to treat the guidelines as constitutional and still operative.


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