Sentencing guidelines were established to ensure that punishments were imposed in a fair and consistent manner. The United States Supreme Court in Blakely v. Washington limited judicial discretion by requiring a jury finding on facts that raise sentences above the sentencing guideline range. This article explores the ramifications of the Court’s rulings on sentencing and other court processing decisions. Miethe (1987) suggested that a potential unforeseen consequence of the recent sentence reforms was “hydraulic displacement” of discretion from the judge to the prosecutor. It is purported that the ruling in Blakely will transfer even more discretion to prosecutors through plea bargaining practices.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeremy_ball/9/