When someone wants the Supreme Court to review a case, they seek review in a petition for certiorari or “cert.” The court reviews the petition, considers the opposing party’s position and decides whether to grant cert so that the parties can fully brief and then argue the case. The Court receives thousands of cert petitions every year but grants review in only 100 or so of them.
FAMM noticed Redd v. United States and thought we should get involved at the cert stage. We don’t do this very often, but in this case we think the issue is important enough to weigh in and perhaps help get the case some attention. Read FAMM's brief.
Redd was convicted and sentenced to the harsh Armed Career Criminal Act mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm with three prior convictions for a drug or violent offense. The problem is that the judge relied on unsupported statements by the probation officer in the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSR) to determine that Redd was a three-time felon.
Redd’s attorneys, FAMM and a healthy number of courts of appeals agree that the law requires more than a line in a PSR to prove a prior offense. PSRs can contain incorrect information and the courts should require more proof, especially when three priors trigger one of the harshest mandatory minimum sentences on the books. FAMM and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) joined forces on this brief and are well-represented by Margaret Love, FAMM Amicus Advisory Board member. You can read our brief here. We’ll update our website as soon as we learn whether the Court agrees to take a look at this important issue.