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January 6, 2009

Fourth Circuit rules guidelines limit reduction for crack retroactivity

Ruling in accord with a recent Tenth Circuit ruling concerning Booker's inapplicability to crack retroactivity proceedings (blogged here), the Fourth Circuit yesterday US v. Dunphy, No. 08-6919 (4th Cir. Dec. 5, 2008) (available here), ruling that there is a limit on the extent of the sentence reduction that defendants can get in crack retroactivity proceedings.  The Dunphy ruling is thorough and thoughtful, and a long opinion is quickly summarized by the ruling's conclusion:

When a sentence is within the guidelines applicable at the time of the original sentencing, in an 18 U.S.C § 3582(c) resentencing hearing, a district judge is not authorized to reduce a defendant’s sentence below the amended guideline range.

January 6, 2009 at 01:04 PM | Permalink


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I haven't read the opinion yet, but what's immediately interesting to me is that the language of 1B1.10 that accompanied the retroactive change to the guidelines specifically invited judges to look into post-sentencing rehabilitation.

Again, I haven't read the opinions, so I don't know the exact holdings or the reasoning, but it seems odd that the guideline would invite judges to consider post-sentencing conduct if they could only go as low as the floor of the new range.

Posted by: Dan | Jan 6, 2009 10:23:19 PM

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