Brief filed: 09/23/2016
Serrano-Mercado v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-237
Decision below United States v. Serrano-Mercado, 784 F.3d 838 (1st Cir. May 1, 2015).
Federal sentencing, always a complex process, is further complicated when a prior-crime-of-violence enhancement is at stake and is yet more difficult when the purported prior crime of violence came under a divisible statute. Under such circumstances, mistakes like the one at issue here will happen. The courts of appeals disagree on how to handle those mistakes on appeal: should the prosecution retain its burden to show that the prior conviction was for a crime of violence, or should that burden shift to the defendant to show that it was not? Federal sentencing law is dense. A defendant who receives an erroneously enhanced sentence for a purported previous crime of violence in the First, Third, Tenth, or D.C. Circuit can expect his sentenced to be affirmed. But if he were sentenced in the Fourth, Second, Eighth, Ninth, or Fifth Circuit, his sentence would be thrown out, and the case remanded for resentencing. The stark difference in analyzing the type of error at issue in this case has led to disparate sentences for the same set of facts as a result of geography. The Court should grant the Petition and unify the law.
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!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Jeffrey T. Green and Jason G. Marsico, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC; Sarah O'Rourke Schrup, Northwestern University Supreme Court Practicum, Chicago, IL.