Apprendi's Limits


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.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure

Date of this Version

September 2004