Do you have a loved one sentenced to a severe mandatory minimum sentence?
Many mandatory minimum sentences were invalidated last year by the Supreme Court and the law is being applied retroactively
When it was decided in 2013, the legal community knew that Alleyne v. United States would have a large impact on criminal trials throughout the country. Alleyne made mandatory minimum sentences elements of the crime that must be submitted to juries rather than decided upon by judges during sentencing. The only question of Alleyne was when we would see it start to take effect in the rest of the country.
The answer, as it turns out, is now.
In Commonwealth v. Newman, 2014 Pa.Super. 178, the defendant challenged the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania mandatory minimum sentence after he had been arrested for and found guilty of selling drugs. The state invoked a mandatory minimum sentencing provision in the law, premised upon a firearm that had been found “approximately six to eight feet” from the drugs.
During sentencing, which occurred prior to the decision of Alleyne, a mandatory minimum was imposed.
Newman appealed his sentence.
The appellate reversed his sentence. First it found that It found that the Alleyne decision applied retroactively to Newman’s case. This made the mandatory minimum sentencing practice in Pennsylvania unconstitutional.
In this case, the element of whether the gun was “in close proximity” to the drugs should have been submitted to the jury.
The importance of the retroactivity is that people who were sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences in the past can get relief even if the sentence was imposed prior to the decision inAlleyne.
At Regan Law PLC, we are actively looking at how we can utilize the Alleyne v. United States decision to benefit those currently imprisoned in violation of the law.
If you have a family member or friend who you think this may benefit do not hesitate to contact us.