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Showing 1 - 15 of 683 results

    • Brief

    McClinton v. United States

    Brief of Amici Curiae Americans For Prosperity Foundation, Dream Corps Justice, National Association of 
    Criminal Defense Lawyers, Niskanen Center, Right On Crime, The R Street Institute, and The Sentencing Project in Support of Petitioner.


    Argument: A sentencing judge should not be allowed to functionally overrule a jury's tal acquitof a criminal defendant and punish him for that same acquitted conduct. Yet all too many criminal defendants who were acquitted of more serious criminal charges but convicted on one or more lower charges face judges doing just that. How is this constitutionally dubious sentencing practice possible? Put simply, many lower courts have mistakenly overread this Court's per curiam decision in Watts to permit sentencing judges to do what Apprendi and its progeny later prohibited; namely, find facts that increase the punishment beyond that authorized by the jury's findings of guilt. Acquitted-conduct sentencing flips the presumption of innocence on its head by allowing judges to functionally overrule unanimous jury acquittals based on judge-found facts using the far lower preponderance standard, gutting the Sixth Amendment's jury-trial right. At a minimum, the Sixth Amendment jury-trial right, coupled with the due process requirement that all facts necessary to legally authorize punishment must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, should bar judges from using the same alleged conduct a jury acquitted a defendant of to justify dramatically increasing a defendant's Guidelines range and sentence.

    • Brief

    Hardin v. United States

    Brief of Amici Curiae Due Process Institute and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner.


    Argument: This case presents the question of whether a defendant's prior conviction for statutory rape under a state law that criminalizes consensual sexual conduct between a 21-year-old and a 17-year-old can subject that defendant to a mandatory 15-year minimum sentence. Last year, the Ninth Circuit considered this question and answered "no." See United States v. Jaycox, 962 F.3d 1066. But in the decision below, the Fourth Circuit answered "yes." See Pet.App.12a-14a. In doing so, the Fourth Circuit increased Petitioner Hardin's mandatory minimum sentence from 5 years to 15 years and doubled the statutory maximum he faces from 20 years to 40. The Court should resolve this clear circuit split, which could subject hundreds of persons per year to thousands more collective years in prison based solely on geographical happenstance. As the petition explains, the Fourth Circuit's decision misinterprets the [*5] relevant statutory term--18 U.S.C. § 2252A (b)(1)'s mandatory sentencing enhancement for prior convictions "relating to . . . abusive sexual conduct involving a minor"--and distorts this Court's settled method for applying the categorical approach to sentencing enhancements. The result is a decision holding conduct that is legal in 39 States and the District of Columbia to be categorically "abusive sexual conduct" under a federal law that subjects a defendant to a 15-year mandatory minimum.