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Supreme Court Clarifies Armed Career Criminal Act

Posted on by Townsend Myers

Courtesy of dbking, Creative Commons

Today, the United States Supreme Court decided McNeill v. United States.  In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Thomas, the Court held that for purposes of determining whether a conviction for a prior state drug offense is a “serious drug offense” under the Armed Career Criminal Act,(i.e., the “maximum term of imprisonment” for that offense is ten years or more), the “maximum term of imprisonment “is the maximum sentence applicable to his offense when he was convicted of it.”   Mr. McNeill had argued that six state drug convictions were not “serious drug offenses” because, although the statutory maximum was ten years at the time of the offenses (and although he was actually sentenced to ten years for them), North Carolina later reduced the maximum term of imprisonment to well below 10 years.

Full text of the opinion is here.



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