Beyond Blakely Implications of the Booker Decision for State Sentencing Systems


Early this year, in an expected but nonetheless momentous decision, the Supreme Court held that the federal sentencing guidelines are unconstitutional. United States v. Booker closely follows a ruling from last summer, Blakely v. Washington, which threw out that state's guidelines and sent the criminal justice systems in perhaps half of the states into a state of unrest. The new decision provides some assistance to state policymakers and practitioners who had been hoping for clarity in the post-Blakely world. But it is now clear that the bulk of the unanswered questions are in the hands of the state courts to resolve. This report, the third to address Blakely concerns for the states, examines the issues addressed by Booker and notes some that are left hanging.