Peugh v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: November 9, 2012
  • Case #: 12-62
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 675 F.3d 736 (2012)

Whether a court violates the Constitution's ex post facto clause by retroactively applying current sentencing guidelines to past crimes when the result is a harsher sentence.

In May 2010, Petitioner was convicted for committing bank fraud from January 1999 to August 2000. At sentencing, Petitioner argued that the court’s application of the 2009 Sentencing Guidelines – rather than the 1998 Sentencing Guidelines that were in effect at the time of the offense – violated the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution and would significantly increase his sentence by more than 20 months. The district court rejected Petitioner’s arguments and sentenced him to 70 months.

Petitioner appealed and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed his conviction and his sentence. In doing so the court relied on its own precedent which held that because the Supreme Court made sentencing guidelines advisory in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), that applying them retroactively did not violate the ex post facto clause.

On review, Petitioner urges the Court to resolve the split between the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits which have found that imposing a harsher sentence through such retroactive application to crimes committed when previous guidelines were in place violates the ex post facto clause.

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