March 2005

Jeffrey Hallam writes “Supreme Court Makes Federal Sentencing Guidelines Advisory” for International Law Office


Since the publication of “Constitutionality of US Sentencing Guidelines is Questioned”, which examined Blakely v Washington(1) and its aftermath, the US Supreme Court issued its widely anticipated ruling regarding the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In United States v Booker and United States v Fanfan,(2) decided on January 5 2005, the Supreme Court concluded that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines violate the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury. Since the guidelines oblige judges to examine evidence and make factual findings that may increase a defendant’s sentence above what would be permitted by a jury’s verdict alone, the court determined that mandatory application of the guidelines was unconstitutional.