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UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN

Docket No.: 08-1569
Certiorari Granted: Sep 30 2009
Argued: February 23, 2010
Decided: May 24, 2010

Topics:

Armed Career Criminal Act, Due Process, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Sixth Amendment, sentencing guidelines

PartyNames: United States v. Martin O'Brien and Arthur Burgess
Petitioner: United States
Respondent: Martin O'Brien and Arthur Burgess

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Citation: 542 F.3d 921

United States
v.
Martin O'Brien and Arthur Burgess
Question Presented:

:flOmega Section 924(c)(1) of Title 18 of the United States Code provides for a series of escalating mandatory minimum sentences depending on the manner in which the basic crime (viz., using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to an underlying offense, or possessing the firearm in furtherance of that offense) is carried out. The question presented is whether the sentence enhancement to a 30-year minimum when the firearm is a machinegun is an element of the offense that must be charged and proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, or instead a sentencing factor that may be found by a judge by the preponderance of the evidence.

Question:

Is the sentencing enhancement for use of a firearm that is a machine gun under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) an element of the crime that must be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt" to a jury or a mere sentencing factor that may be found by a judge "by a preponderance of the evidence?"

UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN
ORAL ARGUMENT

February 23, 2010

Holding: affirmed
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

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UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN
Case Documents

1Opinion in UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN
2UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
3UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
4UNITED STATES v. O'BRIEN Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
Additional documents for this case are pending review.