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March 3, 2008

New lower USSC crack guidelines now officially retroactive

There has already been a lot of local and national action concerning the retroactive application of the lower US Sentencing Commission crack guidelines.  But today (Monday, March 3, 2008) is the official effective date for the retroactive application of the new guidelines. 

Though I suspect we will see lots and lots of news stories about the implementation of these new guidelines in the days and weeks ahead, I already see interesting local pieces from North Carolina and Florida on this issue.  Also FAMM has this helpful press advisory.   As I have suggested before, I think we can and should expect some crack March Madness as a host of complicated legal issues surrounding crack retroactivity get hashed out in lower courts.

Here is a recap of some of the most important/enduring posts I have covering crack retroactivity issues at the national and local levels:



UPDATE:  CNN.com has this new piece headlined "Some crack convicts could soon be set free."  Disappointingly, I do not see anything new on the USSC's official website yet.  Perhaps the USSC hopes everyone will get all the important details they need concerning what's happening on crack retroactivity from the media and bloggers.

March 3, 2008 at 01:53 AM | Permalink


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This is a great day for the American justice system.

Posted by: babalu | Mar 3, 2008 12:41:02 PM

Perhaps, but it is a sad day for many inmates who have taken the option of proceeding with the help of their local jailhouse lawyer, filed a simple form motion and not sought to re-open their sentencing in its entirety.

Posted by: rob | Mar 3, 2008 2:12:34 PM

You're right. I've heard inmates say that the assigned Public Defender didnt help them fight their case and that's why they are there in the first place, so they dont expect them to really do much to help with obtaining the reduction. More importantly, many inmates arent aware of what you speak of.

Posted by: ForAllPeople | Mar 3, 2008 7:39:44 PM

Oh please!!! First off, Federal Defenders across the country are being appointed by the courts to represent ALL defendants who might be eligible for a sentence reduction under the crack guidelines. The FDs have publicly stated their position that they want to argue that even though (1) no court has applied Booker retroactively, and (2) the Guidelines SPECIFICALLY limit sentence reductions in this circumstance to the 2 point reduction, there is now a MAGICAL right to a full resentencing under advisory guidelines. The motions that have been filed so far by the FDs are for the folks who would get out immediately WITH the 2 point reduction. The argument will be made down the road for defendants who still have long terms to serve, when the dust settles a little bit. That is assuming, of ocurse, that the defendant hasn't alreay conflicted out the FD by arguing ineffective assistance of counsel.

Posted by: intheknow | Mar 3, 2008 10:49:11 PM

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