NCLA filed an amicus brief in U.S. v. Malik Nasir, urging the federal court to re-examine the circuit’s treatment of “Stinson Deference.” The case presents an opportunity for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to join a growing chorus of circuits correcting an erroneous and unconstitutional application of judicial deference.

The 1993 Supreme Court decision, Stinson v. United States, commands federal judges to abandon their duty of independent judgment in violation of Article III and the judicial oath, and to assign weight to a non-judicial entity’s interpretation of the law when imposing criminal sentences. It also raises serious due-process and separation-of-powers concerns when it causes courts to mandate judicial bias against a defendant, instead of lenity toward him.

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