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Allen Ryan Alleyne v. U.S., USSC No. 11-9335, cert granted 10/5/12

Question Presented:

Whether this Court’s decision in Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545 (2002), should be overruled.


Lower court opinion (U.S. v. Alleyne, CTA4 No. 11-4208, 12/15/11 (unpublished))

Scotusblog page

Alleyne was convicted by a jury of using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a robbery, 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 2. Though the jury separately acquitted him of “brandishing” a firearm., the sentencing court nonetheless concluded, by preponderance of the evidence, that he was responsible for brandishing a firearm, which elevated the mandatory minimum sentence from five to seven years, 18 U.S.C. 924(c). The cert grant raises the question of whether to extend Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 489 (2000) (“Other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt”) to fact-finding that triggers a mandatory minimum. As the QP suggests, recent adverse authority controls the issue, Harris, 536 U.S. at 567-68 (“the political system may channel judicial discretion—and rely upon judicial expertise—by requiring defendants to serve minimum terms after judges make certain factual findings”). Hard to imagine the Court would have taken up the question absent a strong possibility of reversal.

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