High Court: Any Fact That Increases Mandatory Minimum Must Go to Jury


The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed a previous opinion and ruled that any fact that increases the mandatory minimum penalty in a case must be submitted to the jury. The 5-to-4 ruling came in the case of Allen Alleyne, who had 84 months added to his sentence for robbing a convenience store owner in Richmond, Va., based a judge’s finding that Alleyne would have known about his accomplice’s plan to “brandish” a gun, says Scotusblog.com.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that because “the judge, rather than the jury, found brandishing, thus violating petitioner's Sixth Amendment rights.” Alleyne will get a new sentencing. Chief Justice John Roberts, dissenting, said, “the majority's new rule—safeguarding the power of judges, not juries—finds no support in the history or purpose of the Sixth Amendment.”

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