Monday, January 03, 2005

My Case of the Year for 2004: Nope, not Blakely

The Indiana appellate courts did not produce anything on the first working day of the new year. I'm still strung up and out on a dial-up and Windows 98--next time it's going to be DSL a la polonaise.

I do have news that the New Jersey Supreme Court has snapped up the amicus brief filed in Natale, which those who know more than I suggest means the court is going to consolidate review in Abdullah and Natale. This is important, possibly, for Indiana, because of certain similarities in the two states' sentencing statutes. Of course one could also come to the conclusion that the similarities are different.

My Case of the Year for last year is, in fact, entirely unrelated to Blakely--although it does mention Blakely--and it comes from an unlikely quarter: the South Carolina Supreme Court. It's State v. Brown, No. 25863 (S.C. August 30, 2004). It deals with one of my long-standing pet peeves about something the Indiana Court of Appeals does just about every chance it gets, namely remanding for entry of conviction on a lesser included offense after it has reversed a conviction for a greater offense on sufficiency grounds. And it does this even if neither State nor the defendant requested an instruction on a lesser included offense.

The opinion is great and a great, early-year break from things Blakely.

Now I have to go find the opinion of the Court of Appeals that I swear exists in which the court reverses a conviction for a non-existent offense and remands for entry of an offense "included" in the non-existent one. Really. I'm not making this up.

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