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SCOTUS Apprendi-Blakely-Cunningham Line of Cases

  • Cunningham v. California, no. 05-6551, 549 U.S. ____ (2007) (California's Determinate Sentencing Law violates the rights to a jury trial and due process under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments by permitting judges to impose upper term sentences based on facts neither admitted by the defendant nor found true by a jury.)
  • Washington v. Recuenco, ____ S.Ct. ____, 2006 WL 1725561 (2006) (Blakely error is not per se reversible. Error in imposing penalty for being armed with a firearm where jury returned verdict of guilty of assault while armed with a deadly weapon and where firearm element was neither charged nor proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt is not structural error).
  • Rangel-Reyes v. U.S., 574 U.S. ___ (2006) (statement of Justice Stevens respecting the denial of cert.: "While I continue to believe that Almendarez-Torres v. United States, 523 U. S. 224 (1998), was wrongly decided, that is not a sufficient reason for revisiting the issue."; but see opinion of Justice Thomas (dissenting from denial of certiorari)).
  • Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13, 125 S.Ct. 1254 (2005) (majority held that a federal trial court could not consider police reports or complaint applications in determining whether prior state court convictions were violent felonies within the meaning of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA); plurality read the Almendarez-Torres exception to Apprendi very narrowly, so as not to apply to a fact far removed from the conclusive significance of a prior judicial record. Read in-depth analysis of Shepard here.)
  • U.S. v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.Ct. 738 (2005) (statutes making U.S. Sentencing Guidelines mandatory violate rule of Apprendi and Blakely; statutes making guidelines mandatory are stricken, rendering sentencing guidelines advisory, Court holding that this remedy better preserves Congressional intent than does leaving guidelines intact and adding a jury trial requirement).
  • Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004)
  • Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348, 124 S.Ct. 2519 (2004) (Ring not retroactive to cases already final on direct review).
  • Ring v. Arizona, 536 US 584 (2002) ("we overrule Walton to the extent that it allows a sentencing judge, sitting without a jury, to find an aggravating circumstance necessary for imposition of the death penalty").
  • Harris v. United States, 536 US 545 (2002) (McMillan reaffirmed; Apprendi does not apply to fact-finding used to impose a minimum mandatory sentence).
  • United States v. Cotton, 535 US 625 (2002) (failure to object to sentencing under 21 U.S.C. § 841 required analysis of the claim under the plain error doctrine).
  • Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 US 466 (2000) (there is a federal constitutional right to a jury trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt "‘for any fact (other than prior conviction) that increases the maximum penalty for a crime'").
  • Jones v. United States, 526 US 227 (1999) (serious bodily injury provision of the federal carjacking statute was an element of the offense and subject to the Fifth and Sixth Amendments; Court avoided constitutional question by applying the doctrine of avoiding constitutional doubt and finding a legislative intent that the serious bodily injury allegation be treated as an element).
  • Monge v. California, 524 US 721 (1998) (retrial of prior convictions following insufficiency finding not barred by double jeopardy).
  • Almendarez-Torres v. US, 523 US 224 (1998) (no right to jury trial on prior conviction enhancements).
  • Walton v. Arizona, 497 US 639 (1990) (a judge may determine the presence of aggravating factors in a death case). (Overruled in Ring.)
  • Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990) (for purposes of federal armed career criminal statute, evidentiary enquiries into the factual basis for prior conviction---where prior was proven to a jury---is limited to charging documents filed in the court of conviction, or to recorded judicial acts of that court limiting convictions to the
    generic category, as in giving instructions to the jury. Note: not decided on constitutional grounds.)
  • McMillan v. Pennsylvania, 477 US 79 (1986): (a firearm use enhancement which increased the minimum, but not the maximum possible sentence, did not require jury adjudication and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.)



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