Jackson v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: October 7, 2019
  • Case #: 19-5260
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 750 Fed. Appx. 811 (11th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

(1) Does an inaccurate jury instruction on an element of a crime violate due process of law? (2) Does the Constitution allow a district judge to effectively nullify a jury finding of acquittal?

Petitioner was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for selling drugs. A jury found him guilty of the firearm charge in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1), but acquitted him of the drug charges. Despite the acquittal, the district court enhanced Petitioner’s sentence by four levels (imposing the maximum sentence) because it found by a preponderance of the evidence that he possessed the firearms “in connection with felony drug possession.” The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Petitioner argues that the Supreme Court should vacate in remand in light of the decision in Rehaif v. United States, as the jury was not instructed properly as to the mens rea requirements established in that case. 588 U.S. ___ (2019). Petitioner further argues that the Court revisit precedent that allows the district court “to effectively nullify a jury verdict.” Petitioner concedes that currently the government is authorized to consider an acquittal during the sentencing phase, but that it is a “constitutional wrong” and is against the administration of criminal justice. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded to the Eleventh Circuit in light of Rehaif. VACATED and REMANDED.

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