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Wilcoxson v. United States, No. 17- 669 (U.S. Supreme Court)

This case concerns a critically important issue concerning the application of a harsh mandatory minimum sentence to people convicted of the mere possession of drugs.

A federal law requires courts to impose a minimum of fifteen-years in prison and up to life in prison based upon whether the defendant has previously committed a “serious drug offense.” Although the law specifically limits the meaning of “serious drug offense” to offenses “involving manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance,” a few federal circuits have begun applying the language to persons convicted of the mere possession of drugs.  Those circuits have concluded that courts can simply infer “intent to manufacture or distribute” based upon the quantity of the drugs that the person possessed, although the circuits themselves differ as to how that inference is to be made and what quantities are sufficient.

This issue has caused the excessive application of mandatory minimum sentences in certain jurisdictions and significant disparity in sentences across jurisdictions.  We represent Mr. Wilcoxson before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Click here to read the petition for certiorari.
Click here to read the government's opposition.
Click here to read the reply.