Constitutionality of Allowing Punishment of Misdemeanor by a Sentence Exceeding One Year

Headnotes: 

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires that offenses punishable by imprisonment for more than one year be prosecuted by an indictment presented to a grand jury.

Proposed amendments to the Lacey Act, by which misdemeanor violations of the Act could result in up to five years’ imprisonment if the defendant were designated a “special offender,” must be construed to require prosecution by indictment in all cases.

Updated July 9, 2014