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March 2, 2005 - Lawyers Weekly (US)

Sentencing Guidelines Decision Not Retroactive

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Blakely News Archive

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that the mandatory application of the federal sentencing guidelines is unconstitutional is not retroactive, the 2nd Circuit has ruled.

The defendant in this case was convicted of multiple counts of racketeering and narcotics trafficking and sentenced to four life terms, plus 110 years, in part based on sentencing enhancement factors found by the court.

He appealed, claiming his sentence was unconstitutional pursuant to Blakely v. Washington (124 S.Ct. 2531) and U.S. v. Booker (125 S.Ct. 738).

He argued that the decisions were new rules of constitutional law so that the holdings in both cases were retroactive.

But the court disagreed.

"In Booker, the Supreme Court noted that its holdings in that case apply to 'all cases on direct review' but made no explicit statement of retroactivity to collateral cases. ... "[N]either Blakely nor Booker established a new rule of constitutional law that the Supreme Court has made retroactive to cases on collateral review," the court said.

Green v. U.S. (Lawyers Weekly USA No. 9930108) U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit No. 04-6564. Feb. 2, 2005.

Click here for the full text of the decision. (PDF Format)

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