Court Weighs Whether Judge or Jury Can Impose Sentence Enhancement

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether a jury or a judge should have the final say on facts that can trigger mandatory minimum sentences in criminal trials, reports the Associated Press. The justices heard arguments yesterday in the case of Allen Alleyne, who was convicted of robbery and firearm possession. The jury found that Alleyne's accomplice did not brandish a weapon, but the judge said he did, raising Alleyne's minimum sentence from five to seven years on that charge. Alleyne's lawyers say the brandishing decision should have been the jury's, and it should have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not the lower standard used by the judge.