Peugh v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-18-13 featuring Carissa Byrne Hessick
Featuring Carissa Byrne Hessick
June 18, 2013

On June 19, 2013, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Peugh v. United States.   The question in this case was whether a court violates the Constitution’s prohibition on “Ex Post Facto” laws by using the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time of a defendant’s sentencing rather than those in effect at the time of the underlying offense, when the newer Guidelines provide a higher applicable sentencing range and thereby expose the defendant to a longer recommended sentence.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the Ex Post Facto clause precludes federal courts from using sentencing guidelines imposed after the defendant committed the underlying crime when the newer guidelines propose a higher applicable sentencing range for that crime.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan joined the majority opinion in full, and Justice Kennedy joined the opinion in all except Part III-C.  Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined in Parts I and II-C by Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Alito.  Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Scalia.

To discuss the case, we have Carissa Byrne Hessick, who is a Professor of Law at S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.

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