This week’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on criminal sentencing will reverberate most in drug and gun cases, which frequently have mandatory minimum prison sentences as an element.
WASHINGTON – In a case that raises the question of whether judges, rather than juries, can constitutionally decide factors that could trigger an increase in the minimum sentence, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed reluctant to shake up a sentencing scheme that Congress and the courts have relied upon for more than a decade.
Like other factors that increase a criminal defendant’s sentence, facts that determine the amount of criminal fines imposed on a defendant must be decided beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled at the end of the term in a 6-3 decision.
A company convicted of violating federal environmental law was entitled to have a jury decide the facts determining the amount of its criminal fine, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 6-3.
Are criminal fines subject to the constitutional requirement that a jury decide sentencing factors that increase a penalty beyond the prescribed statutory maximum?
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether criminal fines are subject to the constitutional requirement that a jury decide sentencing factors that increase a penalty beyond the prescribed statutory maximum.