Thursday, August 12, 2004

DOJ Orchestrated Media Campaign? You really think John Ashcroft would do something like that?

DOJ has outdone itself with the Blakely memos - talking points - on why the Blakely doesn't apply at all to the federal sentencing guidelines (a contradiction to what was argued to the Court in their amicus brief in Blakely itself); that if it does apply, then all the guidelines and not just upward adjustments are unconstitutional (their non-severability analysis is essentially "because I say so" with no analysis of whether the Sentencing Reform Act is affected by their reasoning, or Rule 32, F.R.Crim.P.); but the guidelines would only be unconstitutional in cases in which upward adjustments are sought, and not in any others (thus leaving 2 different federal sentencing schemes).

While a few Courts have bought into these arguments, with little or no discussion of severability as applies to the statute rather than the guidelines, as if they were putting out a fire and had no time for such niceties, or were trying to be "fair"to the Government by not creating any windfalls for defendants (as if the government has not unfairly benefited from the draconian sentencing guidelines and its control over sentencing results for all of these years).

I seriously doubt the Supreme Court will buy into these arguments in Boooker and Fanfan.

Recently, DOJ has apparently started a public relations campaign in which it appears Main Justice has asked the various US Attorneys to get a particular article into their local newspapers. Compare, for example, this letter from the Guam U.S. Attorney, with this opinion article from the Eastern District of Tennessee U.S. Attorney. Don't ever think that these folks are playing politics, please.