Home Menu ↓
Clicking on our sponsor links helps insure continued free access to this website.
Please support our efforts by visiting our sponsors:


Burgess v. United States

Docket No.: 06-11429
Certiorari Granted: Dec 7 2007
Argued: March 24, 2008
Decided: April 16, 2008


21 U.S.C. 841

PartyNames: Keith Lavon Burgess v. United States
Petitioner: Keith Lavon Burgess
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Keith Lavon Burgess
United States
553 U.S. 124 (2008)
Question Presented:

1. Whether the term "felony drug offense" as used in federal statute requiring imposition of enhanced mandatory minimum 20 years' imprisonment when drug offender has "prior conviction for a felony drug offense" must be read in pari materia with federal statutes defining both "felony" and "felony drug offense", so as to require imposition of minimum 20--year sentence only if prior drug conviction is both punishable by more than one year in prison and characterized as a felony by controlling law.2. When the court finds that a criminal statute is ambiguous, must it then turn to rule of lenity to resolve ambiguity?


Did the Fourth Circuit err in determining that Burgess' sentencing hike for a drug distribution charge was sufficiently mandated by 21 U.S.C. Section 841(b)(1)(A), which requires such a hike for individuals with prior felony drug convictions regardless of length of imprisonment, when another federal statute, 21 U.S.C. Section 802, requires that a felony drug offense be "punishable by imprisonment for more than a year"?

Holding: affirmed
Decision: Decision: 9 votes for United States, 0 vote(s) against
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/supremec/public_html/supremecourtobserver.com/code/sofunctionsndb.php on line 1145

Other Resources for Burgess v. United States: