High Court Hands Defense Reprieve On Sentencing Guidelines

Law360, New York (June 10, 2013, 2:22 PM EDT) -- In a victory for the criminal defense bar, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional for judges to retroactively apply sentencing guidelines that are more severe than those in effect at the time of an offense.

The 5-4 ruling in Peugh v. United States found that such sentences violate the “ex post facto” clause of the Constitution, which bars laws that retroactively increase the punishment for a given offense. The finding reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that approved courts' use of newer, harsher...
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