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Greenlaw v. United States

Docket No.: 07-330
Certiorari Granted: Jan 4 2008
Argued: April 15, 2008
Decided: June 23, 2008

PartyNames: Michael Greenlaw, aka Mikey v. United States
Petitioner: Michael Greenlaw, aka Mikey
Respondent: United States

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

Michael Greenlaw, aka Mikey
United States
554 U.S. ____ (2008)

In 1937, this Court described as "inveterate and certain," the principle that an appellee "may not, in the absence of a cross-appeal ... `attack the decree with a view either to enlarging his own rights thereunder or lessening the rights of his adversary." Morely Constr. Co. v. Maryland Cas. Co., 300 U.S. 185, 191 (1937) (citation omitted). In light of this principle, numerous courts have held that a court of appeals may not order an increase in a criminal defendant's sentence in the absence of an appeal or cross-appeal by the Government. The Eighth and Tenth Circuits, however, have held that courts of appeals may sua sponte order increases in a defendant's sentence when the district court has failed to impose a statutory mandatory minimum sentence, even if the Government has not appealed or cross-appealed the sentence.

Question Presented:

The question presented is: Whether a federal court of appeals may increase a criminal defendant's sentence sua sponte and in the absence of a cross-appeal by the Government.


Do federal appellate courts have the authority to hike a criminal defendant's sentence in the absence of a government request to do so?



Holding: below filed
Vote: 9-0
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