SCOTUS rules against excessive prison sentences for some gun violations

by ian

The Supreme Court unanimously voted on Friday to ease prison sentences for some gun-related crimes. They ruled that gun-related sentences do not need to stack on top of non-gun-related convictions.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Biden appointee, wrote:

Congress could certainly have designed the penalty scheme at issue here differently. But Congress did not do any of these things. And we must implement the design Congress chose.

In 2002, Efrain Lora acted as a lookout while a rival cocaine trafficker was murdered with a gun. He was convicted of two crimes for his role, including drug trafficking.

A lower court judge said Lora must serve 30 years in prison instead of 25 years, since the other charge was gun-related.

But Lora said the judge was wrong because only other gun-related charges should stack together according to the law. And ultimately, the justices agreed with him. This protects the discretion of lower courts to soften some sentences.