Supreme Court of the United States to Hear 924c Issue

The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari last week in Alleyne v. United States, No. 11-9335. The federal question of importance is whether under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a jury, not a judge, must find that the defendant brandished a firearm in order to trigger the seven (7) year mandatory minimum under 18 USC 924(c). Essentially, what the High Court will decide is whether the precedent set forth in Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545 (2002) should be overturned. In the instant case, the federal indictment alleged that defendant Alleyne "did knowingly use, carry, brandish, and possess a firearm during and in relation to and in furtherance of" a robbery. The jury was given a special verdict form and he was acquitted of brandishing. This is a gigantic step forward for federal defendants. We will keep you posted as to oral arguments and ultimately the decision.

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