FAQs: The Impact of the Alleyne Decision

By Craig M. Coscarelli


On June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court hand down a remarkable 5-4 decision in Alleyne v. United States,( No. 11-9335) (S. Ct. June 17, 2013) wherein the Court held that [a]ny fact that increases the mandatory minimum is an “element” that must be submitted to the jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt. The money quote from the majority opinion was ” because there is no basis in principle or logic to distinguish facts that raise the maximum from those that increase the minimum, Harris was inconsistent with Apprendi. It is, accordingly, Overruled.” Alleyne, slip opinion, at page 15.

While the students of the law here at U.S.P. Lewisburg  have not had time yet to fully study the Alleyne case, based on a much-to-quick first read, and first cut reaction, we have put together the below list of frequently asked questions addressing how we believe the Alleyne decision will impact your case.

1) Is Alleyne Retroactive?

Answer: Whether or not a new rule of law announced by the Supreme Court is to apply retroactively in criminal cases on habeas review for the first time depends largely on whether this rule is substantive or procedural.

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