FCJC's Amicus Brief in Alleyne Helps Revolutionize Federal Sentencing Law

June 18, 2013

Yesterday, in Alleyne v. United States, No. 11-9335, the Supreme Court revolutionized federal sentencing law, overruling prior precedent to hold that the Sixth Amendment requires the facts that set mandatory minimum penalties to be charged in an indictment and proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. The Federal Criminal Justice Clinic filed an amicus brief in Alleyne on behalf of the ACLU and The Sentencing Project. Alleyne’s holding is a major victory for criminal defendants, as it significantly raises the bar for the imposition of mandatory minimum penalties. Moreover, as the Clinic argued in our brief, the Court’s holding changes the law in many circuits (including the Seventh Circuit), by requiring a trial finding of drug quantity for a judge to impose a mandatory minimum in a federal drug case. The New York Times published a praiseworthy editorial about the Court’s decision in Alleyne.