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June 10, 2013

With two opinion days this week, any predictions on coming SCOTUS sentencing decisions?

The fine folks at SCOTUSblog report that we will be getting opinions in argued cases from SCOTUS both today and on Thursday, June 13.  With two opinion days this week, and a third of the nine longest pending cases involving sentencing issues, I am inclined to predict there will be at least some notable Supreme Court sentencing action this week.

So, dear reader, before we start getting some SCOTUSblog updates in the next hour, how about some predictions about which opinions we might get this week and what they might now say.  Specifically, I have my eyes firmly fixed for Alleyne (on the Sixth Amendment's application to mandatory minimums), and Descamps (another ACCA application case), and Peugh (concerning ex post facto limits post-Booker application of new guidelines).  

Based on nothing but rank speculation, I will guess/predict that we get Descamps today, Peugh on Thursday, and Alleyne next week.  And, based on my belief that the Supreme Court remains the most pro-defendant appellate court on sentencing issues in the country, I will also guess/predict that the defendant prevails in all three of these cases.

UPDATE We actually ended up getting Peugh on June 10 (discussed here and here), and it was a 5-4 victory for the federal defendant.  Based on the tone and votes and timing of Peugh, I am now starting to think Alleyne and Descamps will come down together, and perhaps not until next week.

June 10, 2013 at 09:20 AM | Permalink


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