Mandatory Minimum Sentences are deeded unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Superior Court: August of 2014, the Superior Court released an opinion in Commonwealth vs. Newman, that directed the courts not to impose mandatory minimum sentences as provided by Setion 9712.1. In Newman the Defendant went to trial and a jury found him guilty of PWID, among other crimes. The proscution filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Mandatory Sentence under Pennsylvania gun & drug law, 42 Pa. C.S. 9712.1, which means a mandatory 5 to 10 years for a person in possession of firearm and drugs. Defendant appealed the case and the mandatory sentence was deemed unconstitutional. His sentence was overturned.
Supreme Court Overturns Drug plus Gun Mandatory Sentence: In the case of Commonwealth vs. Hanson, __ A.3d.__, 2013 WL 6831854 (Pa. Supreme Ct., December 27, 2013), opinion by Justice Saylor, the application of a gun plus drug dealing mandatory minimum is overruled, because the court ruled that a defendant (Hanson) must be in knowing, physical possession or control, which is constructive control/possession, of the drugs and the firearm must be in close proximity to the drugs in question. The appeal centrally presents questions of statutory construction pertaining to 5 year mandatory minimum sentences attaching to the offense of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver (PWID), 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(30), while in possession or control of a firearm, 42 Pa.C.S. 9712.1(a).