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The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 20 agreed to hear arguments in two cases. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW The justices will decide whether a Nevada law that forces a person stopped under reasonable suspicion by a police officer to identify himself violates the Fourth Amendment. Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Ct., No. 03-5554. Larry D. Hiibel was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy acting on a report that a driver matching his description had been seen striking a female passenger in his truck. (The passenger proved to Hiibel’s adult daughter.) Eleven times, Hiibel refused the deputy’s request that he show identification or verbally identify himself. Hiibel was later convicted of resisting a public officer. Upholding the constitutionality of Nev. Rev. Stat. 171.123(3), the state Supreme Court held that the law struck a proper balance between privacy and the need to protect police officers and the public. Nevada Supreme Court Decison CRIMINAL PRACTICE The justices will again visit the issue of whether a state court’s rationale for an upward departure from sentencing guidelines must be supported by a jury’s beyond a reasonable doubt finding. Blakely v. Washington, No. 02-1632. Ralph Blakely was sentenced to 90 months in jail after pleading guilty to domestic violence-related kidnapping and assault charges. He had bound his estranged wife with duct tape and held her in a plywood box for four hours while he drove through eastern Washington. He ordered the couple’s son to follow in a separate vehicle and threatened to shoot the mother if the son disobeyed. Citing the “deliberate cruelty” of his acts, the trial court rejected the prosecution’s recommendation that Blakely receive an upper-range, but still standard, sentence of 61 to 67 months. A Washington appeals court said that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The state Supreme Court denied a petition for review. In their certiorari petition, Blakely’s lawyers maintain that the trial court violated the strictures established by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2000 case Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466. Apprendi, they argue, requires that any aggravating factors leading to a sentence beyond the maximum typically imposed-here the finding of “deliberate cruelty”-must be found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Washington Appeals Court Decision

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