September 27, 2004

Indiana Decisions - Is the Indiana Supreme Court about to rule on Blakely's application to state court sentencing? [Update: Well, yes]

Is the Indiana Supreme Court about to rule on the application of Blakely v. Washington to state court sentencing?

On September 10, 2004 the Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer in two cases, Bruce Grant Heath v. State, and Adolphe Smylie v. State. Both of these cases were classified as not for publication (NFP) by the Court of Appeals.

I have now obtained copies of the two opinions. In Smylie v. State 94/13/04):

Smylie claims that his sentence is inappropriate because the trial court relied on improper aggravators and failed to consider relevant mitigators.
In Heath v. State (6/16/04) an issue was "Whether the trial court improperly weighed the aggravating and mitigating factors in determining Health's sentence."

In both decisions, the Court of Appeals affirms the trial court. In neither of these decisions is Blakely v. Washington mentioned. Note that although the federal courts may be waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the impact of Blakely on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, that is not an issue here.

[More] Bloomington attorney Michael Ausbrook (INCourts blog) has pointed me to the docket for the two cases. Thanks Michael! Consolidated oral argument regarding Blakely will take place on November 10th:

9/17/04. THE COURT HAS DETERMINED THAT THE ABOVE-CAPTIONED CASES WARRANT ORAL ARGUMENT ON THE ISSUES RELATING TO BLAKELY V. WASHINGTON, 124 S.CT. 2531 (2004). THE ARGUMENTS WILL BE CONDUCTED IN THE COURTROOM OF THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT, 317 STATEHOUSE, 200 W. WASHINGTON ST., INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, AND WILL TAKE PLACE ---- THURDSAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2004 AT 9:00 A.M.

THE ARGUMENT WILL BE 120 MINUTES IN LENGTH, DIVIDED AS FOLLOWS. APPELLANTS HEATH AND SMYLIE ARE ALLOCATED A COMBINED TOTAL OF SIXTY MINUTES, AND THEY MAY DIVIDE THE TIME BETWEEN THEMSELVES AS THEY DEEM APPROPRIATE. APPELLEE, STATE OF INDIANA IS ALLOCATED SIXTY MINUTES. ANY ENTITY GRANTED AMICUS CURIAE STATUS SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ARGUE WITHOUT FURTHER MOTION, BUT ONLY WITH THE CONSENT OF THE PARTY OR PARTIES WITH WHOM THE AMICUS IS SUBSTANTIVELY ALIGNED. NO ADDITIONAL TIME WILL BE ADDED FOR THE PARTICIPATION OF AMICI. APPELLANTS WILL ARGUE FIRST AND WILL BE ALLOWED TO RESERVE PART OF THEIR ALLOTTED TIME FOR FINAL REBUTTAL FOLLOWING APPELLEE'S ARGUMENT.

ALTHOUGH THE COURT IS SCHEDULING THE TWO CASES FOR A JOINT ORAL ARGUMENT, THE CASES ARE NOT BEING CONSOLIDATED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE. * * *

RANDALL T. SHEPARD, CHIEF JUSTICE KM

Posted by Marcia Oddi at September 27, 2004 11:53 AM