Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

June 25, 2004 - The Wall Street Journal (US)

Ruling Puts Limits on Scope Of Judge's Sentencing Powers

By Laurie P. Cohen and Gary Fields

In a decision that could have major implications for the federal sentencing system and for at least eight states, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges can't act alone to boost a defendant's sentence based on facts and behavior that weren't presented to a jury.

The high court, In a 5-4 vote, overturned the sentence of a Washington state man sentenced to more than seven years in prison for the 1998 kidnapping of his estranged wife. The state judge in that case sentenced Ralph Howard Blakely Jr. to more than three years above the 53-month maximum called for by the state's sentencing guidelines, saying Mr. Blakely acted with "deliberate cruelty."

Though the decision involved one state's sentencing system, legal specialists said it could affect the guidelines enacted by several other states, as well as the federal system.

(Remainder snipped at the request of The Wall Street Journal)

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact