Brief filed: 03/04/2011
McNeill v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 10-5258
Decision below 598 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2010).
Whether the plain meaning of “is prescribed by law” [note present tense] which ACCA uses to define a predicate “serious drug offense” requires a federal sentencing court to look to the maximum penalty prescribed by current state law for a drug offense at the time of the instant federal offense, regardless of whether the state has made that current sentencing law retroaction.
The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) applies to a person who “violates [18 U.S.C.] section 922(g)” and “has three previous convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug offense.” 18 U.S.C. §924(e)(1). A “serious drug offense” is defined in relevant part as “an offense under State law . . . for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed by law.” The Fourth Circuit Cour of Appeals affirmed the district court’s classification of petitioner’s North Carolina drug offenses as “serious drug offenses” under the ACCA, even though at the time of petitioner’s federal sentencing, North Carolina’s current sentencing law did not prescribe a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years for those drug offenses.
The text and structure of the ACCA require consideration of the “seriousness” of a drug offense at the time of the federal firearms violation; the government’s rule would create unnecessary complexity and uncertainty.
This is a sponsored ad
Manage Your Law Firm All in One Place
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
NACDL 2024 Annual Pass - All CLE Institute Programs
NACDL's 2024 Annual Pass gives you full access to the recordings of every CLE Institue live training seminar held in 2024! That means every CLE speech, presentation and training - along with all accompanying written materials - is yours for over 50% off! With this exclusive pass, you gain unlimited access to a treasure-trove of recent NACDL Trial Skills training that will help you win more cases!
A Defender's Guide to Federal Evidence - 2nd Edition
This brand-new 2nd Edition 2024 Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The updated 2024 Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The 2nd Edition Guide contains multiple new and updated user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems.
Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection - 40+ Hours of Content!
NACDL's "Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection" is the definitive aggregation of our 4 highest-rated and most current Sex Cases CLE trainings (2019, 2021, 2022 & 2023 ed.) and contains our most comprehensive and up-to-date assembly of sex cases trainings that NACDL has ever put together! Containing 49 separate trial skills trainings, thousands of pages of written materials and over 40+ hours of practical and pragmatic content, this collection guides you through the most intimidating sexual assault criminal trial topics.
Jonathan D. Hacker and Meaghan McLaine VerGow, O’Melveney & Meyers LLP, Washington, D.C.