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H.R. 1621: Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 8, 2021 (Introduced).

Summary of this bill

Should your jail time be increased if a judge believes you probably committed another crime in addition, but were found not guilty?

Context

In 2005, Antwuan Ball was one of 18 members of the Washington D.C. gang Congress Park Crew arrested on drug charges. While Ball was convicted on the charge of cocaine distribution, he was acquitted of cocaine conspiracy.

Yet at Ball’s sentencing, District Judge Richard Roberts found that even though the evidence for the conspiracy charge may have fallen short of the legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” there was clearly a preponderance of evidence nonetheless. He cited testimony from fellow witnesses, including “What [Ball ...


I

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1621

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 8, 2021

(for himself and Mr. Armstrong) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To amend section 3661 of title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the consideration of acquitted conduct at sentencing.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021.

2.

Acquitted conduct at sentencing

(a)

Use of information for sentencing

(1)

Amendment

Section 3661 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting , except that a court of the United States shall not consider, except for purposes of mitigating a sentence, acquitted conduct under this section before the period at the end.

(2)

Applicability

The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply only to a judgment entered on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b)

Definitions

Section 3673 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking As and inserting the following:

(a)

As

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

As used in this chapter, the term acquitted conduct means—

(1)

an act—

(A)

for which a person was criminally charged and with regard to which—

(i)

that person was adjudicated not guilty after trial in a Federal, State, or Tribal court; or

(ii)

any favorable disposition to the person in any prior charge was made, regardless of whether the disposition was pretrial, at trial, or post trial; or

(B)

in the case of a juvenile, that was charged and for which the juvenile was found not responsible after a juvenile adjudication hearing; or

(2)

any act underlying a criminal charge or juvenile information dismissed—

(A)

in a Federal court upon a motion for acquittal under rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; or

(B)

in a State or Tribal court upon a motion for acquittal or an analogous motion under the applicable State or Tribal rule of criminal procedure.

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