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February 23, 2008

Another story about the local implementation of the new crack guidelines

Today the local details of crack retroactivity come from this piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, headlined "Crack cocaine inmates may gain early release." Here are snippets:

Convicted crack dealer John J. Betts got a break in his federal prison sentence Friday — one of seven men and women who had their sentences reduced in federal court in St. Louis under new guidelines aimed at reducing the punishment faced by crack cocaine defendants.... Betts' sentence was cut by 21 months Friday, but he will actually be freed only a month earlier than scheduled, as his release date had already been moved up for good behavior.

Friday's hearings in front of U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber were the first in eastern Missouri, but judges also can handle the resentencings without a formal court hearing.  U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry resentenced three defendants on Wednesday, and U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson is believed to have been the first in Missouri or Illinois to order a resentencing when she signed paperwork last month. She was second only to federal judges in Oregon, said Doug Burris, chief federal probation officer in St. Louis, and acted because it meant immediate freedom from a halfway house for that inmate.  All inmates resentenced so far have been in halfway houses, and were put at the front of the line because a recalculation of their sentence could mean freedom and no one wants them to have to serve an extra day, Burris said....

The real effect on Betts, like many of the others, will be somewhat more modest, thanks to credit they earned while in prison for good behavior or attending treatment programs. The most anyone on Friday received was a year off, but officials said that others could get up to two years off their sentence.

February 23, 2008 at 09:28 AM | Permalink

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