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November 16, 2008

Ohio's experience implementing new crack guideline retroactivity

My local paper this morning had this effective little article about the implementation of the new reduced crack federal sentencing guidelines in the Southern District of Ohio.  Here are some particulars:

The federal probation office has determined that 256 crack-cocaine dealers in the Southern District of Ohio are probably eligible for early release from prison under a change in federal sentencing guidelines.... "That number is pretty close to being reliable. … We looked at well over 3,000 cases," said Pat Crowley, chief U.S. probation officer for the district.

The federal public defender's office had estimated that 439 inmates might be eligible. Federal prosecutors plan to object to early release in about 80 cases but agree with the probation office's assessment of the others, said William Hunt, first assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district....

The three agencies -- probation, public defender and prosecutor -- together reviewed 464 inmate files; in 80 percent of the cases, they agreed on whether an inmate was eligible and, if so, for how much of a reduction, Crowley said.

That bodes well for the inmates when they go before judges, said Steven Nolder, federal public defender for the southern district. The average sentence reduction is about 28 months, "which is right on target with the national average," Nolder said.

Hunt said the U.S. Department of Justice was not in favor of the guideline changes. But now that they are in place, he said, the department is objecting to early release for only the worst offenders.

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November 16, 2008 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

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