NACDL - United States v. O’Brien

United States v. O’Brien

Amicus curiae brief of Families Against Mandatory Minimums and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Brief filed: 01/21/2010


United States v. O’Brien

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 08-1569

Prior Decision

Decision below 542 F.3d 921 (1st Cir. 2008).


Under Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000), if a sentence would be unreasonable absent a particular fact neither found by the jury or admitted by the defendant, the sentence would violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment jury trial right; in the instant case, whether the defendant brandished a “machinegun” during a robbery, triggering a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence, must be treated as an element of the offense.

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Samuel J. Buffone and Aaron M. Katz, Ropes & Gray LLP, Washington, DC.