Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mandatory Sentence | Alleyne

Mandatory Sentence | Alleyne


I am serving 3-6 years on a drug mandatory sentence. My guidelines were well below the so called mandatory. The jury was not asked about the mandatory. I understand the new case Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), which was just followed by Commonwealth v. Munday, 2013 PA Super 273, says the jury has to decide this point. If I was arrested today, would that be true?

Yes.

Even though the statutory language in PA is clear that the fact finder does not have to find the elements of the mandatory, such as weight, this Supreme Court case overrules all of the PA mandatory statutes. Therefore, if some gets arrested on mandatory drug charges and demands a jury trial, the jury must be asked if drugs recovered have the weight of the mandatory for the possession with the intent to delivery conviction.

In other words, the jury gets to make all of the sentencing decisions. This opinion affirms and extends Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), which stated that the jury gets to decide all factual questions related to a conviction. Alleyne just takes it to the next level and tells us for sentencing, all facts that effect sentencing must be decided by the jury as well.

I never thought I would see his picture on my blog, but ...

Alleyne v. US, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013)
Alleyne v. US, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013)

By Brian J. Zeiger

2 comments:

  1. I received a followup question on google+ about this post. I think this new law is a positive. While this change could have a good or a bad effect, I think this change will be overwhelmingly positive for my clients. More judges are against my clients. Therefore, it will remove the majority of bad forces. Certainly there are some very good judges for us that will lose the power to do the right thing by the clients.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The jury should always be making sentencing decisions. It is my belief the system was intended to work that way. Mandatory sentencing shouldn't be applied to criminal drug cases.

    ReplyDelete