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Big Win on a First Step Act case - pro-se defendant!!!

Back in 2006, Defendant Marty Smith was sentenced to 240 months, despite the fact that his Guidelines range was 168-210 months.  This was due to the fact that the Government had filed a notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 851, raising his mandatory minimum to 20 years (240 months). 

When the First Step Act was passed in 2018, Smith sent a letter to the district court (Eastern District of Kentucky) asking that counsel be appointed for the filing of an FSA motion.  (It should be noted that the Eastern District of Kentucky remains one of the only districts in the country devoid of a Federal Defenders office.)  Instead of appointing counsel, the district court (1) construed the letter request as an FSA motion, (2) found that the FSA did indeed apply, and (3) decided that Smith should not receive a reduced sentence.  In denying the motion, the court noted that Smith's current Guidelines range would be 77-96 months.

Smith appealed (still acting pro-se), arguing that the failure to reduce the …

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