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October 30, 2008

Latest USSC data on crack retroactivity

The US Sentencing Commission has available here updated data on the retroactive application of its revised crack sentencing guidelines on its website.  Here is how the data is described:

A set of tables presenting preliminary data on cases in which a motion for a reduced sentence was considered under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).  These cases involve retroactive application of the crack cocaine amendment to the sentencing guidelines (Amendment 706, as amended by Amendment 711) which became effective on November 1, 2007 and which was made retroactive effective March 3, 2008.  The report represents those cases considered by the courts through September 30, 2008 and for which data was received, coded, and edited by the Commission as of October 16, 2008.

I continue to be impressed and somewhat surprised by how few concerns have been expressed about the reality of applying the new crack guidelines retroactively given what a huge fuss was made by the Justice Department about the idea before it became a reality back in March.

October 30, 2008 at 02:51 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Doug,

Regarding the smooth application of the retroactive amendments to the “crack” Guidelines, government lawyers, defense lawyers, and probation officers deserve accolades. In Nebraska, according to the Commission, we dealt with 238 people seeking new sentences. This is a large number when compared to other districts. We granted about 84% of those applications. In general, the process has functioned far better than I would have imagined possible.

The lawyers and the probation officers in our district formed a committee. They labored long and hard to insure both fairness and efficiency. I suspect the same thing is true in other districts.

In this age of cynicism about all things, especially the criminal justice system, the good works of dedicated lawyers and probation officers is worthy of mention.

Take care.

Richard Kopf
United States District Judge

Posted by: Richard Kopf | Oct 30, 2008 5:08:00 PM

Thanks for the informed input, Judge. I am pleased and not surprised to learn that front-line federal lawyers and federal judges can effectively implement sensible sentencing rules. And I think this reality, in turn, suggests that prior problems with the sentencing guidelines resulted from setting in which they were not very sensible or sound, rather than from lawyers and judges unwilling to follow rules.

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 30, 2008 5:28:43 PM

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