The Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines contain factors that can increase the sentencing guidelines to which someone may be sentenced. Sentencing guidelines are a combination of a person’s prior record score and the offense gravity score for the crime or crimes that are charged.
The Pennsylvania recently issued a decision finding that sentencing enhancements do NOT fall under the category of increases in either United States Supreme Court’s decisions in Apprendi nor Alleyne.
In Apprendi, the USSC held that any factor that increases that statutory maximum sentence a person can receive must be decided by a jury (the fact-finder) and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In Alleyne, the USSC held that any factor that increases the minimum sentence a person can receive must, also, be determined by the jury and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
In Commonwealth v. Mills, the PA Superior Court held that the deadly weapon enhancement does not fall under the protections afforded by the Apprendi or Alleyne decisions. Specifically, the Mills Court held that while the deadly weapon enhancement determines the recommended sentencing range, it does not change the statutory minimum or maximum to which a person may be sentenced. Sentencing guidelines are not mandatory in Pennsylvania. Because of that fact any change to the guidelines fails to create an Apprendi or Alleyne issue.