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Apprendi's Limits

bepress Legal Repository
Publication Date
  • Apprendi
  • Blakely
  • Sentencing Guidelines
  • Jury Trial
  • Fifth Amendment
  • Sixth Amendment
  • Civil Rights And Discrimination
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law And Procedure
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Law


This article argues that Blakely v. Washington did not decide (explicitly or implicitly) whether the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are constitutional. It also claims that the best interpretation of Apprendi v. New Jersey would uphold the Guidelines because they do not result in a punishment above the crime of conviction's statutory maximum. The notion that statutory maxima are constitutionally important stems from separation of power principles. Congress, not the Commission, is responsible for defining crimes, and thereby for prescribing how much punishment is authorized by a jury's guilty verdict.

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