Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Career Offenders and the Crack Reduction

I figure phones will be ringing off the hook tomorrow in some offices, so let me give you the fast and dirty breakdown of United States v. Jackson, 10-3923. (found here).

On its face, it appears to allow 3582(c) crack guideline reduction petitions where the defendant was found to be a career offender. HOWEVER, the devil is in the details.


Jackson pled guilty in June 2009. He was found to be a Career Offender. The District Court delayed his sentencing for over a year, anticipating Congress was about to pass a new crack law. It finally decided it could delay no longer, and sentenced Jackson on July 16, 2010. Jackson filed a timely notice of appeal. The FSA, of course, was passed on August 4, 2010. At Jackson's sentencing, the District Court discussed at length the horrible disparity between the crack and powder guidelines. The District Court clearly wanted Jackson to have a more just guideline. The District Court did give a 38-month downward variance from the career offender guideline smack into the middle of the then-applicable crack guideline.


Writing for the majority (J. Boggs dissented), Judge Merritt stated, "When the original sentencing judge decides to vary from the career offender guideline range to some other range, it is fair to say that the sentence imposed is 'based on' the adopted range and not the career offender range." He discussed the instruction in Freeman v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2685 (2011), to "isolate whatever marginal effect the since-rejected Guideline had on the defendant's sentence. Working backwards from this purpose, 3582(c) modification proceedings should be available to permit the district court to revisit a prior sentence to whatever extent the sentencing range in question was a relevant part of the analytic framework the judge used to determine the sentence." Judge Merritt rule the crack cocaine guidelines were "clearly 'a relevant part of the analytic framework' used by the district court."br/br/Defenders may want to review their crack career offender cases to see if any might be due relief. This will likely involve review of the transcripts from the sentencing hearing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Bobby

dawidtailor said...

When the unique sentencing assess chooses to differ from the profession perpetrator guide variety to some other variety, it is fair to say that the phrase charged is 'based on' the implemented variety and not the profession perpetrator variety.

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