Billum v. State

In Billum v. State, 151 P.3d 507 (Alaska App. 2006) Billum argued that his sentence violated Blakely v. Washington because the trial judge relied on one judge-found aggravating factor in imposing a composite sentence of 10 years with 5 years suspended for three counts of first-degree assault, each of which carried a presumptive term of 5 years. But the Court found that the sentencing judge "had the authority -- even in the absence of aggravating factors -- to impose the 5-year presumptive term on each of Billum's three convictions for first-degree assault, and to order that one of these presumptive terms would run consecutively to the other two, and then to suspend this consecutive 5-year term." The Court held that any Blakely error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt where "it was wholly fortuitous that the sentencing judge chose to achieve the composite sentence" by increasing the sentence on one of the convictions using aggravating factors, instead of crafting the sentence as described above.