Can Blakely Help Martha Stewart?
Martha Stewart's lawyers have filed a motion in the wake of the Blakely decision arguing that the Judge is not bound by the Guidelines and can give her probation. Martha's sentencing is set for July 16.
Stewart's lawyers say the Supreme Court's ruling in Blakely prevents Cedarbaum from considering any facts not heard by the jury when weighing Stewart's prison sentence. Without the guidelines, Stewart would face a sentence ranging from five years to probation.
Drug War Chronicle explains the chaos caused by the Supreme Court's Blakely decision. Here are some snippets:
This is the closest thing to legal anarchy I've seen in my lifetime," said Douglas Berman, professor of law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law and publisher of the Sentencing Law and Policy web log (blog). "This represents a fundamental shift in power, at least for now. Before this, all the levers of power were disproportionately in the hands of prosecutors. That's all been scrambled by Blakely, but who gets the bigger clubs now remains to be seen," he told DRCNet.
"Blakely was a blockbuster, concurred Jack King, communications director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "Things are really in a state of flux. Some people are pushing at the extremes declaring the whole system unconstitutional, but that contradicts Congress' intent. Congress wanted to limit judicial discretion. This is the best thing that could have happened because the system had fossilized. Maybe now we can start over, but if in the meantime defendants are getting lesser sentences, who is to say that's a bad thing?"
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