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Copyright (c) 2004 The Regents of the University of California
U.C. Davis Law Review

ARTICLE: The Use of Prior Convictions After Apprendi

April, 2004

37 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 973


Colleen P. Murphy*


Assume that defendant Jones has been convicted of a criminal offense or has pleaded guilty to the offense; the maximum punishment under the applicable statute is twenty years imprisonment. The prosecution argues that Jones should be subject to the possibility of an extra ten years imprisonment based on a statutory provision that enhances the maximum authorized punishment for an offender who has a prior conviction. Jones contests that he has sustained the prior conviction named by the prosecution - perhaps by claiming he is not the person who was previously convicted or that the record of conviction is inaccurate or inauthentic. Some state courts, based on state statutory or constitutional guarantees, would grant Jones the right to a jury trial on the existence of the prior conviction, with a requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 1 With respect to the federal Constitution, however, the prevailing view in the state and federal courts is that the Sixth Amendment 2 does not guarantee a jury trial on the existence of the prior conviction, nor do the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth 3 or Fourteenth Amendments 4 guarantee a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on whether the defendant incurred the prior conviction. 5

Alternatively, assume that defendant Sule has been convicted or has pleaded guilty to the same offense. The prosecution asks that Sule be subject to the same sentence enhancement, based on a prior juvenile adjudication of delinquency, 6 which ...
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