Blakely Error Law and Legal Definition

Blakely error derives its name from the case Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (U.S. 2004), wherein it was held that when the court uses a fact (other than the fact of a prior conviction) which is neither proven to the jury nor admitted by defendant to impose a sentence beyond the statutory maximum sentence permissible based on the jury’s verdict and/or defendant’s admissions, the court violates defendant’s Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In Blakely, the petitioner was sentenced to more than three years above the 53-month statutory maximum of the standard range because he had acted with "deliberate cruelty." The facts supporting that finding were neither admitted by petitioner nor found by a jury and therefore on appeal the judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.