The Death of the Feeney Amendment
A short reference in the Booker opinion references Congress' 2003 Feeney Amendment that increased many criminal sentences under the Federal guidelines. Dan Christianson in the Daily Business Review analyzes that portion of the opinion and concludes that the Feeney Amendment's changes are dead.
The Feeney Amendment's demise is spelled out in a little-noticed part of the high court's Jan. 12 decisions in U.S. v Freddie J. Booker and U.S. v. Ducan Fanfan.
In the words of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion making the guidelines advisory, the 2003 amendment to the Protect Act... had made guidelines sentencing "even more mandatory" than it was before. Therefore, with the Court's decision that the guidelines violated defendants' Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, the Feeney Amendment had "ceased to be relevant," Breyer said.
Christianson notes that the Feeney Amendment may have contributed to the Supreme Court's decision in Booker:
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