Arguing that a Supreme Court decision last month created “a wave of instability in the federal sentencing system,” the Justice Department has asked the justices to review as soon as possible two federal cases that call sentencing guidelines into question, says the Los Angeles Times. Justice lawyers asked the high court to hear the cases as early as September.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco yesterday overturned the sentence of a Montana methamphetamine dealer, which had been enhanced by a federal trial judge. The 9th Circuit said it was acting in response to the Supreme Court decision. The high court held that Washington’s system, which permits judges to make findings that increase a sentence beyond the specific counts of jury convictions, violates the defendant’s 6th Amendment rights. Also yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution cosponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) urging the Supreme Court to “resolve the current confusion” created by the June 24 decision.