Aggravated Sentencing Blakely v. Washington—Practical Implications for State Sentencing Systems


This summer, the Supreme Court sent the criminal justice systems in perhaps half of the states, and the federal system, into a state of simmering unrest. Blakely v. Washington cast doubt on two decades of efforts to channel judicial discretion in sentencing by finding that the Sixth Amendment forbids a judge to increase a criminal sentence based on facts not found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, even when those sentences are well short of statutory maximums. This report offers an examination of which state systems are affected and the options available to policymakers in affected states.


Representation Matters

No Child Should Appear in Immigration Proceedings Alone

Each year, thousands of immigrant children are placed into court proceedings in which government prosecutors seek to deport them unless those children can prove they have a right to stay in the United States. Many face these immigration proceedings alone. Many children have legal options that establish their ability to remain in the United States, ...

  • Alyssa Snider, Becca DiBennardo
December 23, 2021
Photo by Alex Burness/The Colorado Independent.

Bans on Holiday Cards and $30 Phone Calls—the Isolation of Prison

The way the United States separates people who are incarcerated from loved ones has always been harsh, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made an already stressful situation worse. Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, many of the nearly two million people incarcerated haven’t seen their loved ones—not even on a video call. And speaking w ...

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  • Nazish Dholakia
    Nazish Dholakia
December 21, 2021
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