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August 30, 2007

FAMM alert about the USSC's crack amendments

I just noticed on the website for Families Against Mandatory Minimums this interesting warning:

It has come to FAMM's attention that some in the legal profession (and perhaps some non-lawyers as well) are soliciting business by telling prisoners and their family members that the proposed crack amendment will be made retroactive.  We encourage our members to be cautious when approached by anyone promising to bring a loved one home from prison sooner.

This warning comes with a link to this effective document entitled ""Attention FAMM Members: Proposed crack amendment is no guarantee of going home early."  Here is how this document starts:

In May of this year, the United States Sentencing Commission proposed an amendment to the sentencing guidelines that would reduce the base offense levels for crack offenses by two levels of severity. This means that crack sentences imposed on or after November 1, 2007 will be, on average, 16 months shorter than crack sentences in similar cases that were imposed before that date.

FAMM supported this proposed amendment on behalf of its members and continues to do so, knowing that changing the crack guidelines will result in fairer sentences for thousands.  While this is far short of the real sentencing reform we seek, it is still a significant positive development.  The amendment will go into effect on November 1 unless both the Senate and the House of Representatives vote to reject it.  We do not expect Congress to reject the amendment.  However, there are several important limitations on the effect of the amendment that our members should be aware of.

August 30, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink


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Comments to the USSC as to whether this amendment (which will take effect on November 1, 2007 absent contrary congressional action) are due on October 1, 2007. According to one staffer at the USSC, no internal decisions have yet been made as to whether this guideline amendment will be run retroactively. No time frame has been set for a decision on this point, even though the guideline amendments take effect at least prospectively on November 1, 2007, again absent contrary congressional action.

Posted by: Dennis Terez | Aug 31, 2007 1:34:37 PM

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