Supreme Court Considers Mandatory Minimum Sentences Under 3-strikes Gun Law

The Supreme Court considered during a hearing whether a judge or a jury gets to decide if criminal defendants’ prior convictions justify enhanced sentencing under a federal three-strikes gun law.

The court heard oral arguments on March 27 in the case of Erlinger v. United States.

In the case, the court is expected to decide whether the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires juries to go through fact-based inquiries to figure out whether a defendant has committed multiple prior offenses on separate occasions and therefore qualifies for an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) of 1984.

The ACCA provides that anyone with at least three prior violent felonies or serious drug-related convictions is to be sentenced to prison for at least 15 years if found in possession of a firearm.

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Cherry blossoms, Supreme Court by Bill Mason is licensed under

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