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2ND CIRCUIT ISSUES ‘BOOKER’ RULING NEW YORK — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling upending the federal sentencing guidelines does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled. Joining several other circuits, the Second Circuit said the Supreme Court’s Jan. 12 ruling in U.S. v. Booker was neither a “substantive” nor a “watershed” rule change that would require retroactivity under the U.S. Constitution. In Booker, the court found that the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury was violated when judges, and not juries, find facts that require them to sentence a defendant within a higher, “enhanced” range. The decision effectively made the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines advisory in nature, with courts of appeals left to review sentences for “reasonableness.” But while Booker explicitly stated that its holding applied to cases currently on direct review, it was silent as to whether its logic applied to cases where the conviction was final as of that date and was under collateral attack. The Second Circuit took on the issue in the appeal of prisoner Michael Guzman, who was convicted in 1998 on racketeering and drug trafficking counts. He was ordered to serve six life terms plus 145 years in prison. The sentence was meted out by Southern District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who had found several facts that enhanced Guzman’s sentencing range. Once Booker was issued, the Second Circuit expanded the certificate of appealability in Guzman’s case to include the issues raised by the Supreme Court decision. — New York Law Journal

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