Which Punishment Fits Which Crime?: Supreme Court to Consider Whether Portion of Supervised Release Statute is Unconstitutional [Updated June 27, 2019] [open pdf - 621KB]
From the Document: "On June 26, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decisionin United States v. Haymond, with five Justices agreeing that applying 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) with respect to the defendant's conduct was unconstitutional. Justice Gorsuch, writing for a plurality of four Justices, observed that Section 3583(k) permittedthe judge in the defendant's case, rather than the jury, to find facts that resulted in the defendant 'fac[ing] a minimum of five years in prison instead of as little as none.' For the plurality, this judicial fact-finding 'increased 'the legally prescribed range of allowable sentences' in violation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.' The plurality limited its opinion to Section 3583(k)'s 'unusual' mandatory-minimum sentencing provision for certain violations of supervised release conditions as it applied in the case before the Court, opting not to pass judgment on ordinary supervised release revocation proceedings that typically involve judicial discretion and lack a mandatory-minimum sentencing requirement. In a separate opinion, Justice Breyer, writing only for himself, agreed that Section 3583(k) was unconstitutional but underscored that he did not see a problem with the ordinary supervised-release regime and would not apply the Court's Sixth Amendment jurisprudence to that regime more broadly. In Justice Breyer's view, 'three aspects' of Section 3583(k) specifically, 'considered in combination,' rendered it distinct from 'ordinary revocation and more like punishment for a new offense, to which the jury right would typically attach': (1) that it applies only when a defendant commits one of a 'discrete set of federal criminal offenses specified in the statute'; (2) that it removes the judge's discretion with respect to imprisonment and term length; and (3) that it imposes a mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment upon a finding that commission of a listed criminal offense occurred."
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