December 12, 2012

Whether the quantity of drugs involved in a crime must be decided by the jury before it can be the basis for a mandatory minimum sentence.

The Court has with increasing frequency in recent years insisted on the jury’s essential role in resolving factual issues related to sentencing.  A decade ago, the Court ruled that any fact that increases the maximum penalty for a crime must be found by the jury.  The issue in this case is whether the same rule should apply to any fact that triggers a mandatory minimum sentence.  The ACLU argues that it should in an amicus brief submitted jointly with The Sentencing Project.

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