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Almendarez-Torres v. United States
United States Supreme Court
523 U.S. 224 (1998)
Almendarez-Torres (defendant) was convicted and sentenced for violating subsection (b) of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. Subsection (a) stated that entry to the United States without permission by an alien who was formerly deported was a crime punishable by up to two years in prison. Subsection (a) was explicitly “subject to subsection (b).” Subsection (b) provided a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for any alien who was deported subsequent to an aggravated-felony conviction “notwithstanding subsection (a).” The title of the statutory section was, “Criminal penalties for reentry of certain deported aliens.” The government (plaintiff) did not include conviction of an aggravated felony as an element of the crime Almendarez-Torres was charged with in his indictment. Almendarez-Torres challenged the constitutionality of his conviction under subsection (b) in the United States Supreme Court, based on the absence of the aggravated-felony element in the indictment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)
Dissent (Scalia, J.)
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