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Supreme Court to rule on sentencing schemes under Armed Career Criminal Act

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Moon v. United States and Jeffries v. United States [dockets], both dealing with criminal sentencing. The cases had ben remanded to the US Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Fifth Circuit [official websites], respectively, with instructions to consider the cases in the light of Johnson v. United States [opinion, PDF]. This case ruled that increased sentences of felons charged with illegal possession of a firearm under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) [text] violates the Fifth Amendment due process clause [LII backgrounder] due to the vague language [JURIST report] of the ACCA.

In Moon v. United States, Moon was arrested and convicted for robbing a bank. He was sentenced to 240 months in prison and given a $5,000 fine. Due to Moon's prior record, including a history of bank robbery, this case falls under the ACCA ruling and must be reexamined. In Jeffries v. United States, Jeffries was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute large amounts of cocaine. The cocaine recovered held a street value of more than $10,000, and a handgun and large sum of money were also found. Prior to this arrest, Jeffries had multiple misdemeanor charges, some of which could have been determined violent under the ACCA before Johnson. In January, the Supreme Court granted certiorari [JURIST report] to Welch v. United States, a case determining retroactive application of Johnson. Following the ruling, circuit courts have been split [SCOTUSblog report] regarding whether the ruling should be applied to all inmates currently serving ACCA enhanced sentences. The Supreme Court likely granted certiorari in the present cases to resolve the disagreement.

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