Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ACCA Cases: Watch for Supreme Court Action

From Sentencing Law and Policy
Johnson v. US is yet another Supreme Court case requiring the Justices to try to make sense of which prior state crimes suffice to trigger the 15-year mandatory minimum sentencing terms of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Though not an easy read, the Johnson transcript reveals Justice Scalia making a significant and sustained effort to provide a pro-defendant reading of the statute. In notable contrast, Justice Breyer seems to be comfortable with a broader reading of the ACCA statute, though it is not entirely clear how he will vote in the case (especially since last term Justice Breyer thoughtfully suggested that the rule of lenity should apply with special force in cases involving mandatory minimum sentencing provisions).

Remember to get sentencing documents and records to support challenges to prior convictions on potential ACCA cases.

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