Criminal Procedure keyed to Kamisar
United States v. Cotton
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Respondent, Cotton, and others were charged with conspiracy to distribute and with possession with intent to distribute a detectable amount of cocaine and cocaine base. After they were convicted they received a sentence based on the District Court’s finding that they possessed a large drug quantity, which implicated enhanced sentencing. At sentencing, the respondents did not raise the inhancement of the sentence but, on appeal, they argued that their sentencing was invalid under Apprendi, which had been decided after their indictment. In Apprendi, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that “other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” The appellate court vacated the sentences, and the government appealed to the Supreme Court.
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