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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
McMillian v. Pennsylvania
Citation:477 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 2411, 91 L.Ed.2d 67.
The defendants were convicted of, among other things, one of Pennsylvania’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Act‘s enumerated felonies. The Act provides that anyone convicted of certain enumerated felonies is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment if the sentencing judge finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person “visibly possessed a firearm” during the commission of the offense. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the Act was constitutional and the defendants were sentenced under the Act.
The defendants appealed, arguing that the Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the jury trial guarantee of the Sixth Amendment since firearm possession was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
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