OCTOBER TERM, 2008
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
DEAN v. UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
No. 08–5274. Argued March 4, 2009—Decided April 29, 2009
An individual convicted for using or carrying a firearm during and in
relation to any violent or drug trafficking crime, or possessing a fire-
arm in furtherance of such a crime, receives a 5-year mandatory
minimum sentence, in addition to the punishment for the underlying
crime. 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(1)(A)(i). The mandatory minimum in-
creases to 7 years “if the firearm is brandished” and to 10 years “if
the firearm is discharged.” §§924(c)(1)(A)(ii), (iii).
Petitioner Dean was convicted of conspiring to commit a bank rob-
bery and discharging a firearm during an armed robbery. Because
the firearm was “discharged” during the robbery, Dean was sen-
tenced to a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term on the firearm
count. §924(c)(1)(A)(iii). On appeal, he contended that the discharge
was accidental, and that §924(c)(1)(A)(iii) requires proof that the de-
fendant intended to discharge the firearm. The Eleventh Circuit af-
firmed, holding that no proof of intent is required.
Held: Section 924(c)(1)(A)(iii) requires no separate proof of intent. The
10-year mandatory minimum applies if a gun is discharged in the
course of a violent or drug trafficking crime, whether on purpose or
by accident. Pp. 2–9.
(a) Subsection (iii) provides a minimum 10-year sentence “if the
firearm is discharged.” It does not require that the discharge be done
knowingly or intentionally, or otherwise contain words of limi