Court says jury should have final say in minimums

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a jury should have the final say on facts that can trigger mandatory minimum sentences in criminal trials.

The high court on Monday overturned the sentencing in Allen Alleyne’s case in a 5-4 judgment. He was convicted of robbery and firearm possession in Richmond, Va. The jury said 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. Instead, the judge made his determination using a lower standard of proof. The Justice Department argued that the current system has been used successfully for years.

The justices sent the case back for resentencing.

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