SIXTH ANNUAL AMERICAN JUDICATURE SOCIETY SYMPOSIUM ASSESSING THE VALUES OF PUNISHMENT: THE STATE OF SENTENCING IN THE UNITED STATES CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: SYMPOSIUM ARTICLE: MANDATORY SENTENCING GUIDELINES BY ANY OTHER NAME: WHEN "INDETERMINATE STRUCTURED SENTENCING" VIOLATES BLAKELY V. WASHINGTON Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 Drake University
Drake Law Review

SIXTH ANNUAL AMERICAN JUDICATURE SOCIETY SYMPOSIUM ASSESSING THE VALUES OF PUNISHMENT: THE STATE OF SENTENCING IN THE UNITED STATES CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: SYMPOSIUM ARTICLE: MANDATORY SENTENCING GUIDELINES BY ANY OTHER NAME: WHEN "INDETERMINATE STRUCTURED SENTENCING" VIOLATES BLAKELY V. WASHINGTON

2009

DRAKE LAW REVIEW

57 Drake L. Rev. 643

Author

Bradley R. Hall*

Excerpt

I. Introduction

In Apprendi v. New Jersey, the Supreme Court held that "other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt." 2 Four years later, in Blakely v. Washington, the Court extended this rule to account for mandatory sentencing guidelines, holding that, for constitutional purposes, the term "statutory maximum" refers to "the maximum sentence a judge may impose solely on the basis of the facts reflected in the jury verdict or admitted by the defendant" - even if that is the severest possible sentence under the sentencing guidelines rather than the statute of conviction. 3 The Court made clear that "[w]hen a judge inflicts punishment that the jury's verdict alone does not allow, the jury has not found all the facts "which the law makes essential to the punishment ...' and the judge exceeds his proper authority." 4

Conversely, the Court approved of sentencing schemes that do not employ mandatory sentencing guidelines based on judicial fact-finding, but instead vest judges with full sentencing authority at the moment of conviction, i.e., schemes in which judge-found facts are not "essential to the punishment." 5

The Court imprecisely referred to these schemes, however, as "indeterminate," apparently borrowing from another characteristic common to the nonguideline sentencing schemes that were widespread prior to the 1980s: the idea that a defendant's actual time in ...
 
 
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