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June 16, 2023

Supreme Court unanimously limits reach of § 924(c)'s consecutive sentence mandate in federal law

The US Supreme Court this morning handed down a unanimous ruling in Lora v. US, 22-49 (S. Ct. June 16, 2023) (available here), which marks yet another victory for a federal criminal defendant this Term. Here is how the opinion for the Court authored by Justice Jackson gets started:

When a federal court imposes multiple prison sentences, it can typically choose whether to run the sentences concurrently or consecutively. See 18 U.S.C. §3584.  An exception exists in subsection (c) of § 924, which provides that “no term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment.” §924(c)(1)(D)(ii).

In this case, we consider whether § 924(c)’s bar on concurrent sentences extends to a sentence imposed under a different subsection: § 924(j).  We hold that it does not. A sentence for a §924(j) conviction therefore can run either concurrently with or consecutively to another sentence.

The full opinion that follows carefully unpacks statutory text to support the Court's conclusion. I am not sure there is much in the opinion that could have broader impact, but perhaps readers might find some language that could have enduring echoes.

June 16, 2023 at 10:12 AM | Permalink


Once again, Justice Alito proves that he's a prosecution hack by.................oh..................wait.....................

Might be time to quit singing that song. Indeed, it was time when one commenter (I forget which one) listed seven cases where Alito voted for the defendant while at least one other Justice voted with the government.

Not that, for purposes of assessing a Justice's legal acumen or integrity, it makes any difference who he votes for. It's not the winning party but the scholarship and fair-mindedness of the analysis that tells the tale. In those terms, Alito is and consistently has been excellent. I understand that there are those on the Left who see might prefer to see the Nicholas Roske plan in action, but I won't be joining them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 16, 2023 12:07:03 PM

Is this applied retroactively for someone who was convicted under 924 c

Posted by: Parnell Broome | Nov 5, 2023 10:11:29 PM

My brother was sentenced to 15 yrs. Stacked.. 10 yrs on conspiracy. Plus 5 year 924c.. this is his first offence. Non violent.... will this mean he will get re-sentenced to run his charges concurrent???

Posted by: Jose | Jan 14, 2024 6:44:28 PM

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