Court: Man shouldn't have gotten harsher penalty

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says a man should not have gotten a harsher penalty for a crime because a judge had investigated his previous offenses.

The 8-1 decision came Thursday in the case of Matthew Descamps, a Washington state man convicted of possessing a firearm in 2005. He could have been sentenced to a decade in prison. But since he had been convicted of multiple crimes, he fell under the Armed Career Criminal Act. That requires a sentence of at least fifteen years if the defendant has three prior convictions for violent felonies.

Descamps argued that his 1978 conviction for burglary wasn't violent and didn't count. The federal judge decided to investigate the record himself and decided that it did count. Deschamps appealed, and the Supreme Court reversed the decision.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Moving Sawant
    A fundraiser is born to move Councilmember Kshama Sawant to a Socialist country

  • Uber Upset
    Jason Rantz pokes holes in driver's discrimination claim against Uber
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.