Articles Posted in United States Sentencing Commission

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In 2014, the United States Sentencing Commission approved an Amendment to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (The Guidelines).  The Guidelines are the mechanism by which people are ordinarily sentenced in Federal criminal cases.  The Amendment lowered the so called Base Offense Level for many types of drugs by two points and it became effective on November 1, 2014.  The United States Sentencing Commission promulgated a policy statement making the reduction retroactive. The fact that the amendment is retroactive allows for those already sentenced to in a federal drug case come back to the Court and request a sentence reduction.

What does this mean?  It means that  many individuals sentenced in federal drug conspiracy cases prior to November 2014 received a lengthier Guidelines sentence than they would receive now.  This is due to the two point base offense level reduction authorized by the Sentencing Commission and approved by Congress.  The law allows for people sentenced prior to the November 2014 amendments to petition the U.S. District Court to reduce their existing sentence based on the changed base offense level.  The two point reduction may sound almost insignificant, but a two point reduction can results in a sentence lowered by many months or even years.

Do I qualify?  Does a family member qualify?

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The United States Sentencing Commission (U.S.S.C.) has submitted a number of amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines that are to take effect on November 1, 2013.

From a practical standpoint, the most important amendment may be one of the changes to U.S.S.G. 3E1.1.  Section 3E1.1 is that provision of the Guidelines that addresses Acceptance of Responsibility.  The section provides for a 2 point reduction to the base offense level for a defendant who “clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility for his offense.”    The change to this section added the following language.

“The government should not withhold such a motion based on interests not identified in §3E1.1, such as whether the defendant agrees to waive his or her right to appeal.

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