Pennsylvania mandatory sentencing is subject to attack
where a Judge rather than a jury decides the facts that determine whether a mandatory sentence
For years now it has been
the Judge deciding whether a mandatory sentence applies. For example, the quantity of drugs
and whether a gun was present or used in a crime are facts which trigger mandatory sentencing.
These facts should not be found by a Judge at sentencing. At sentencing there is a lesser
standard of proof which is proof, i.e. by a preponderance of the evidence. Our Constitutional
right to a jury trial and due process requires the higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable
Your attorney should argue
for this higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This issue should be preserved at
sentencing and in a post-sentencing motion. The United States Supreme Court is currently
deciding whether this important Constitutional right of proof beyond a reasonable doubt applies to
facts which enhance a sentence.
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