Justices decline to extend ruling on repeat offenders

Washington (AP) – The Supreme Court has declined to give some inmates convicted of repeated violent crimes a chance to reduce their prison terms.

The justices on Monday ruled against a challenge to guidelines that boosted the sentence of a Florida man convicted of unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Travis Beckles received a 30-year sentence as a career offender because he had two prior felony drug convictions. Beckles said language in the sentencing guidelines defining what crimes make a defendant eligible for a longer prison term is so vague that it’s unconstitutional. He was relying on a high court ruling last year that struck down similar language in the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas declined to apply that ruling to language in the sentencing guidelines.

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