Citing High Court, Maine Judge Limits Drug Term

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The new Supreme Court ruling on sentencing guidelines is having an impact coast to coast. In Maine’s federal court this week, one defendant’s sentence was reduced from a maximum of 20 years in prison to 6 1/2 years, and another sentencing has been delayed at least two months, says the Bangor Daily News. U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby said of one of his drug cases, “I conclude that perhaps the Supreme Court can find a way to explain away Blakely in its language and its reasoning, but as a trial judge and a sentencing judge, I cannot. I must take it as written. I will leave it to higher courts to tell me it does not mean exactly what it says.”

Ducan Fanfan, 30, of Somerville, Ma., was found guilty last year by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faced between 15 1/2 and 20 years in prison. The guidelines require judges to impose “enhancements” based on defendants’ related activities. “I conclude that it is unconstitutional for me to apply the federal guideline enhancements in the sentence of Ducan Fanfan, which is to say, an increase in the drug quantity beyond that found by the jury, or any role enhancement,” Hornby said. “To do so would unconstitutionally impinge on Mr. Fanfan’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.”

Link: http://www.bangornews.com/editorialnews/article.cfm?ID=425138

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