Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt of Elements Required for Imposition of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Commonwealth v. Munday, 3020 EDA 2010, October 10, 2013 (10 pages)jury duty serve service

The Superior Court unremarkably decided that state courts have to follow the  United States Supreme Court decision in Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013). Thus, when a mandatory minimum sentence is under consideration based upon judicial factfinding of a ‘sentencing factor,’ that ‘sentencing factor’ is, in reality, “an element of a distinct and aggravated crime” and, thus, requires it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, notwithstanding Pennsylvania statutes requiring less proof to the contrary. This issue goes to the legality of the sentence, allowing Mr. Munday to raise it for the first time on appeal, even though it did not appear in his Pa.R.App.Pro 1925(b) statement. Mr. Munday, who, following trial, received a five year sentence pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. §9712.1 for visibly possessing a gun while in possession of drugs with intent to deliver, had his case remanded for resentencing because the factfinder had not determined at trial that a violation of §9712.1 was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, in violation of the 6th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.

 

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