On June 17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that any fact that increases the Minimum Mandatory sentence a defendant could face must be submitted to the jury and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is specifically important for drugs and any other offenses that carry minimum mandatory sentences.
The Court’s holding in the Allenye case is a huge win for the criminal defense bar. Previously, prosecutors could argue to the judge that minimum mandatories applied and not have to be concerned about involving the jury at all in the process.
The application of Minimum Mandatories in drug cases is very significant for criminal defendants. Minimum Mandatories significantly increase an accused’s exposure and frequently enhance a criminal defendant’s sentence. All drug minimum mandatories require that a judge sentence an accused to state prison even if it is a criminal defendant’s first exposure to the criminal justice system. Thanks to the United State Supreme Court’s ruling, the application of Minimum Mandatories must now be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and their application decided by a jury.