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McMillan v. Pennsylvania

477 U.S. 79 (1986)

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McMillan v. Pennsylvania

United States Supreme Court

477 U.S. 79 (1986)

Facts

A state statute required a judge to sentence a defendant convicted of an enumerated crime to a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years if the judge found by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant visibly possessed a firearm during the commission of the offense. The act did not permit a judge to sentence the defendant to a term exceeding that otherwise allowed for the specific offence of which the defendant was convicted. The state legislature specifically explained that visible possession was not an element of the crime. McMillan (defendant) was convicted of one of these enumerated felonies. However, McMillan was convicted to a term less than that minimally required by the act because each of the sentencing judges who heard the case found the act unconstitutional. On appeal, the state supreme court upheld the act as constitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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