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April 22, 2007

Good guidelines in the works from the USSC

I am pleased to be able to report some positive sentencing developments in the works at the US Sentencing Commission.  Though you cannot tell from the USSC's official webpage, FAMM has the news here about the USSC's new "Compassionate release" guideline amendment.  Here is a portion of the FAMM report:

On April 18, the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to approve a new policy statement to instruct judges considering whether to reduce a prisoner's sentence for extraordinary and compelling reasons, also sometimes know as "compassionate release" motions. This proposed guideline amendment would substantially expand the grounds for reduction of sentence under 18 USC § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i).

The proposed guideline amendment is a victory for advocates.  For a number of years, FAMM and other organizations have urged the United States Sentencing Commission to adopt a policy statement on “compassionate release” motions that recognizes conditions other than the disabling illness or imminent death of the prisoner.  FAMM, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the Practitioner's Advisory Group, the Federal Public Defenders and other organizations most recently endorsed the American Bar Association's recommendations, which the U.S. Sentencing Commission also recognized when announcing the proposed amendment.

A helpful reader has also told me that the USSC has some significant tweaks to the criminal history guidelines geared up for this amendment cycle. 

All of these positive USSC developments should be official by the end of this month, because the USSC has to submit proposed guideline amendments to Congress by May 1.  Back when the guidelines were mandatory, new guideline amendments did not become effective until November 1 after Congress has 180 days to consider whether to reject the amendments via legislation.  After Booker, advocates might sensibly urge sentencing judges to follow the USSC's latest amendment advice even while they are officially pending before Congress.   

April 22, 2007 at 02:24 PM | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 23, 2007 4:28:22 PM


"It is important to remember that the policy statement does not change the fact that only the Bureau of Prisons can make a motion for a sentence reduction. That said, the BOP, under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) can move for sentence reduction for extraordinary and compelling reasons if it finds the reason exists and the reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements of the Sentencing Commission." This is just a bunch of words, the BOP is a large system made up of people that recieve money from the governmaent to do a job-to house prisoners. The system is based upon everything else, no prisoners no work and they lay off people, people lose the good jobs that they have with all the benefits. The gov. way up to now has been more prisoners more prisons more jobs. The point that I am trying to make is that the BOP is in charge of the release and the people that run the BOP are not going to turn anyone away from their system if there is not a watchdog to see that the words that you write like above, are adhered too. If a prisoner sends in this request and is turned down, who does he appeal to? The Administrative Remedy Program or the PLRA system that is designed to eliminate the "overcrowding" of prison lawsuites (lawsuites that would not be filed if the BOP would not violate the prisoners little bit of Constitutional Rights afforded him while in prison) in a way to delay and cause the prisoner to give-up because of all the rules to follow to go all the way through the ARP just to get an answer of "NO". The next answer is a quote from the appeal papers, "Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal responses are the final agency position. If you are disssatisfied with the response, you may pursue any legal recourse you deem appropriate." If the prisoner sends in the request with the appeal from the ARP to the Federal Judge the Federal Judge is going to quote that it is in the hands of the BOP to decide on the release-denied for lack of jurisdiction. I would be interested to find the "follow-up" of how many "unhealthy" prisoners, or other prisoners that apply to the BOP get released by the BOP under this 18 USC 3582(c)(1)(a)(i), is it going to make a dent in the over 2 million prisoners in prison? No, you are just throwing a rock in the very large ocean. A boy is walking down the beach and comes across thousands, no, 2 million Starfish that the sea has washed up from a recent storm. The boy spends his day throwing the Starfish back into the ocean. Along comes a man, (BOP) and says to the boy, "You are waisting your time it will take you a long time to save all these, and are you going to make a differance? The boy replied, "I just made a differance to that one." God bless you professor, it does give us some hope, if we did not have hope we would have nothing. Just like the Starfish that cannot walk back into the ocean to save his life, you see they need to be in the water to move and are left to one boy (you Professor) to make a differance.

Posted by: magicman | Apr 23, 2007 1:07:01 PM

How are you doing? My girlfriend is in prison she was part of the group of people imprisoned in Operation Lively Green. I wanted to have her request a sentence reduction based on 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) for many reasons. I was wondering how do i find the process for this. Does she have to use a lawyer, and are there any examples of this out there that we can follow. If you can lead me in any direction that would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance. Again any help is appreciated..


Posted by: Rico Rodriguez | Nov 28, 2007 11:14:43 PM

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