George v. Louisiana

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of the petition for certiorari.

Brief filed: 03/14/2011


George v. Louisiana

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 10-1017

Question Presented

Is a defendant’s constitutional right to trial by jury violated when the maximum sentence is increased from six months to twenty years based on a prior adjudication at which a defendant had no right to a jury trial?


The majority of American citizens who interface with the criminal justice system do so through a vast web of petty offenses – such as driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, simple assault – for which the Constitution does not guarantee a jury trial. When such minor non-jury triable misdemeanor convictions are used as elements of subsequent serious felony offenses, the defendant is denied his right to have a jury determine each essential element of this felony offense in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments

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Timothy P. O’Toole, Miller & Chevalier Chartered, Washington, D.C. and Thomas M. Nosewicz, New York, NY.