Opinions Relating to Orders - 2018

Hester v. United States

JUSTICE GORSUCH, with whom JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR joins, dissenting from the denial of certiorari. If you’re charged with a crime, the Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to a jury trial. From this, it follows that the prosecutor must prove to a jury all of the facts legally necessary to support your term of incarceration. Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466 (2000). Neither is this rule limited to prison time. If a court orders you to pay a fine to the government, a jury must also find all the facts necessary to justify that punishment too. Southern Union Co. v. United States, 567 U. S. 343 (2012). But what if instead the court orders you to pay restitution to victims? Must a jury find all the facts needed to justify a restitution order as well? That’s the question presented in this case. After the defendants pleaded guilty to certain financial crimes, the district court held a hearing to determine their victims’ losses. In the end and based on its own factual findings, the court ordered the defendants to pay $329,767 in restitution. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, agreeing with the government that the facts supporting a restitution order can be found by a judge rather than a jury. Respectfully, I believe this case is worthy of our review. Restitution plays an increasing role in federal criminal sentencing today. Before the passage of the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982, 96 Stat. 1248, and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996, 110 Stat. 1227, restitution orders were comparatively rare.