Fifth Circuit Survey: Criminal Procedure—Sentencing: June 2003 - May 2004
Laughlin, Angela M.
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During the Survey Period, the Fifth Circuit dealt with several challenges to the validity of sentence enhancements and departures from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (the Guidelines). The most significant trends were seen in the area of Apprendi challenges: attacks on sentence enhancements based on facts not admitted by the defendant nor presented to the jury. In addition, the Supreme Court's most recent decision concerning the validity of sentencing guidelines in Blakely v. Washington has produced a split in the circuits as to the constitutionality of the federal sentencing guidelines. This Survey traces the most recent developments in Fifth Circuit jurisprudence on the issue of interpreting the Guidelines.