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June 9, 2014

Big US Sentencing Commission hearing Tuesday on reduced drug guideline retroactivity

As reported in this official notice, a public hearing of the United States Sentencing Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10, 2014, and the "purpose of the public hearing is for the Commission to gather testimony from invited witnesses concerning whether the Commission should designate as retroactive Amendment 782."  That Amendment, in short form, reduces the guidelines applicable to drug trafficking offenses by two levels in most settings.  And, as set forth in this detailed USSC staff analysis, as many as "51,141 offenders sentenced between October 1, 1991 and October 31, 2014, would be eligible to seek a reduction in their current sentence if the Commission were to make the 2014 drug guidelines amendment retroactive.

The hearing agenda and the list of the 16 witnesses scheduled now to testify at this hearing is available here. I am pretty confident that most of these witnesses will advocate that the new drug guidelines be made retroactive, but I am not entirely certain about what positions will be advocated by the Department of Justice and some of the law enforcement witnesses. In addition, advocates on both sides likely will articulate in different ways with distinct emphasis why they think retroactivity for these new reduced drug guidelines would be a good or bad idea.

I am hopeful that by this time tomorrow the written testimony to be submitted by the witnesses with be linked on the USSC's website.  In the meantime, I will be re-reading  this detailed USSC staff analysis in order to have a better understanding of the 50,000+ federal prisoners whose fates could be impacted by the retroactivity decision.

June 9, 2014 at 02:13 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I WOULD LIKE TO SAY, MY SON HAS BEEN LOCKED UP SINCE 1999. I AM A SINGLE MOM HAS WORKED THE BIGGEST PART OF MY LIFE. I'M WRITING THIS COMMENT BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE MY SON HAS GOTTEN THE SHORT END OF THE STICK. WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS, HE WAS A FIRST TIME OFFENDER, NON VIOLENT NEVER DONE ANY HARD CRIME IN HIS LIFE. YET HE WAS GIVEN A PUBLIC DEFENDER, WHO HELP SENT HIM TO JAIL. AND GAVE HIM EIGHTEEN YEARS. MY SON DIDNOT DESERVE ALL THAT TIME. HE HAS REHABED HIMSELF. CONTINUE TRYING TO IMPROVE HIMSELF, SO WHEN HE DOES GET HOME HE HAS NO INTENTION OF GOING BACK. HE HAS BEEN BACK TO COURT AND CONTINUALLY SENDING IN FILES TO THE COURT TRYING TO SEE IF HE CAN GET A SENTENCE REDUCTION WHICH IS JUST A WASTE OF HIS TIME. MYSELF I HAVE LOST FAITH IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.I KNOW THAT IF WE BREAK THE LAW WE NEED TO BE PUNISHED BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENT LAW FOR SOME, NAMELY ALL OF OUR BLACK GUYS. I AM HOPING THAT THIS LAW, OR BILL WHATEVER WILL HELP MY SON AND ALL THE OTHERS, THAT DON'T NEED TO BE LOCKED UP COME HOME. IN THE MEAN TIME I WILL BE PRAYING FOR THE ONES THAT HOLDS MY SON FATE IN THEIR HAND. MY SON HAS TWO SONS, ONE HAS ALREADY GROWED UP WITHOUT HIM WILL BE STARTING TO COLLEGE IN A WEEK OR SO.THE OTHER ONE LIKES ABOUT THREE YEARS BEFORE HE WILL BE THROUGH SCHOOL. I AM HOPING HE CAN BE HOME TO SEE THE LAST ONE GRADUATE. HOPEFULLY THIS BILL WILL SET HIM FREE.

Posted by: EMMA WARREN | Jun 24, 2014 8:00:25 PM

Emma, you are not alone. The feds drug sentenceing policies were/are overkill to a gross highly gross level.. I hope the retroactivity gets passed.

For some reason the DOJ wants to retain those already sentenced. Like they are any different than those to be sentenced in the future. Its all about politics.

As a nation we desperately need to vote all of them out of office for 3 terms in a row, just to purge any hold overs.

I hope your son gets his sentence shortened and hang in there.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jul 17, 2014 10:57:18 PM

I am a single mother and my son was a first time offender also and was given a public defender which helped him get 15 years. I have been told that my son should have only received a max of 3 years and by him being in the county for 2 years should have been home by now. Yes if he broke the law he would be punish but not have his life taken away like a lot of other black males and female have had their lives taken away. There have been peoples right here in Indian River County with murder charges and only receive 3 years 5 years and this wasn't self defense. Please Mr. Obama give me my son back and other moms and dads their childerns back. I know this is for the federal and my son is in state but I trust that God will open doors for the state as well.

Posted by: Mattie | Jul 18, 2014 2:14:08 PM

A happy Day from a hurt mother my son is coming home !!!

Posted by: his mom | Jul 18, 2014 7:17:00 PM

Im with you. The same thing happened to my husband. He has been incarcerated for almost 7 years. Still have 33 months to go.I'm so happy to hear about this amendment. I keep praying for it to pass so my husband can come back home

Posted by: Erika | Jul 20, 2014 12:57:12 AM

Please tell me if the information I found on gordondefense.com is true. Under FAQ ...

I received a mandatory minimum sentence. Do I qualify for a reduction?

Answer: Individuals who received a mandatory minimum sentence are not eligible for a reduction pursuant to this amendment UNLESS the person received (a) the safety valve or (b) a reduced sentence because of cooperation.

Posted by: Chrystal | Jul 22, 2014 10:38:24 AM

I'm a felon on probation with 2 more years of paper. Can I get a reduction and possibly get off or close to off of probation?

Posted by: Christopher lerma | Jul 23, 2014 1:44:53 AM

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