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February 24, 2020

Without any comment, SCOTUS quickly denies cert on two big cases raising the constitutionality of acquitted conduct sentencing

For a number of months, I have been keeping an eye on two certiorari-stage cases being briefed to the Supreme Court, Asaro v. United States and Michigan v. BeckAsaro is a not-too-uncommon case involving a federal defendant whose sentence was enhanced on the basis of so-called "acquitted conduct,” Beck is a somewhat unusual case involving a split Michigan Supreme Court finding due process precludes acquitted conduct being used to enhance a sentence. 

The fact that the state was appealing in Beck, as well as various past comments by newer Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, had me thinking maybe enough current members of the Supreme Court would be prepared to take up these important and challenging issues that have been churning with uncertainty in the wake of Fifth and Sixth Amendment rulings like Watts, Apprendi, Blakely and Booker.  But, via this lengthy order list, SCOTUS on its very first opportunity and without any comment from any Justice, quickly denied certiorari in both Asaro and Beck

I am a lot disappointed, and I suppose a little bit surprised, that these cases did not even generate a relist or any comment from any Justice.  I welcome spculation from others about why the Court seems so very eager to avoid taking up these issues.

February 24, 2020 at 10:57 AM | Permalink


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