August 02, 2004

Supreme Court grants cert. in Booker and Fanfan

The Court has granted the two petitions filed by the Acting Solicitor General in Booker and Fanfan, as well as an expedited briefing schedule, with consolidated Oral Argument set for October 4th. See today's Order List here. The questions presented for review were not reformulated, as respondents and amici NACDL/NAFD had suggested. And what about Pineiro (5th Cir.), Bijou (4th Cir.), the certified questions from the 2d Cir. in Penaranda, as well as the petition for rehearing filed by Washington State in Blakely v. Washington? The Court has not acted on any of these one way or another. I have a distinct feeling that -unless the Court were to hold that Blakely did not apply to the federal sentencing guidelines (unlikely, in my view, but nonetheless a possibilty)- there will be so many questions left unanswered and those will be left to percolate through the lower courts. And, for all of Blakely's talk of the Sixth Amendment, the Court will not have to answer the one question that affects the vast majority of criminal defendants: are so-called Blakely waivers valid in that they allow the Court to find facts using a preponderance standard?