Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Alleyne v. United States Not Retroactive to Cases on Collateral Review

In United States v. Reyes, No. 13-3537, 2014 WL 2747216 (3d Cir., June 18, 2014), Defendant was convicted of armed Hobbs Act robbery and sentenced to 180 months in prison. His conviction and sentence were upheld on appeal. Defendant subsequently filed a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Prior to the court’s ruling on the habeas petition, Defendant requested permission to amend it in light of Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), in which the Supreme Court ruled that any facts that raise the range of penalties to which a defendant is exposed are elements of the offense and must be found beyond reasonable doubt. The court denied Defendant’s request, ruling that Alleyne did not apply retroactively to cases that were on collateral review. Nonetheless, the court issued Defendant a certificate of appealability on that issue. During the briefing on Defendant’s appeal, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in United States v. Winkleman, et al., 746 F.3d 134 (3d Cir. 2014), ruling that Alleyne does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review. The Third Circuit answered a question left unanswered in Winkleman, namely that Alleyne announced a new rule of criminal procedure. However, citing Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348 (2004), and Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), the Third Circuit concluded that Alleyne was not retroactive to cases on collateral review because the new rule did not place the conduct or individuals covered by the statute beyond the government’s power to punish, nor was it a watershed rule that implicated the "fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding." To the contrary, the Third Circuit recognized that Alleyne announced a procedural, not a substantive rule. Further, the Third Circuit determined that Alleyne was not a watershed rule because it provided "only a limited modification to the Sixth Amendment rule announced in Apprendhi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000)." The court noted that, as the Supreme Court has not decided to make Apprendhi retroactive, Alleyne should not be deemed retroactive.

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The District Court's indication of the sentence it would impose before the defendant allocuted was not reversible plain error.

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