Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545, 24 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

brandished, or discharged, Ala. Code 13A-5-6(a)(4) (1994); Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-4618 (1995); Minn. Stat. Ann. 609.11 (Supp. 2002); N. J. Stat. Ann. 2C:43-6(c), 6(d) (1998); or among other examples, that the victim was over 60 years of age, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. 9717(a) (1998); that the defendant possessed a certain quantity of drugs, Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 730, 5/5-5-3(c)(2)(D) (2000); that the victim was related to the defendant, Alaska Stat. 12.55.125(b) (2000); and that the defendant was a repeat offender, Md. Ann. Code, Art. 27, 286 (Supp. 2000). We see no reason to overturn those statutes or cast uncertainty upon the sentences imposed under them.


Reaffirming McMillan and employing the approach outlined in that case, we conclude that the federal provision at issue, 18 U. S. C. 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), is constitutional. Basing a 2-year increase in the defendant's minimum sentence on a judicial finding of brandishing does not evade the requirements of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Congress "simply took one factor that has always been considered by sentencing courts to bear on punishment . . . and dictated the precise weight to be given that factor." McMillan, 477 U. S., at 89-90. That factor need not be alleged in the indictment, submitted to the jury, or proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Court is well aware that many question the wisdom of mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimums, it is often said, fail to account for the unique circumstances of offenders who warrant a lesser penalty. See, e. g., Brief for Families Against Mandatory Minimums Foundation as Amicus Curiae 25, n. 16; cf. Almendarez-Torres, supra, at 245 (citing United States Sentencing Commission, Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System 26-34 (Aug. 1991)). These criticisms may be sound, but they would persist whether the judge or the jury found the facts giving rise to the minimum. We hold only that the

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