Enforcing Statutory Maximums: How Federal Supervised Release Violates the Sixth Amendment Rights Defined in Apprendi v. New Jersey

Danny Zemel* 

The Sixth Amendment commands that “[i]n all criminal prose- cutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Trial by a jury of one’s peers is a fundamental American legal right, existing in the earliest colonies before being codified in both Article III of the Constitution and the Sixth Amendment. The jury trial right derives from “the mass of the people,” ensuring that “no man can be condemned of life, or limb, or property, or reputation, without the concurrence of the voice of the people.” In recent decades, the Supreme Court has held the Sixth Amendment commands that the jury find, by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the facts necessary to raise the minimum or maximum sentences for the criminal conduct the defendant committed. However, the increasing prevalence of supervised release revocations and reimprisonments has created a work-around to this rule, eroding the importance of the jury in the federal criminal system.

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* J.D. Candidate, 2019, University of Richmond School of Law. B.A., 2013, University of Pittsburgh. I would like to thank the staff and editors of the University of Richmond Law Review for their assistance. I would also like to thank Professor Paul Crane, Sharon Zemel, Elizabeth Bingler, and Justin Hill for their input and support.

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