ILNews

Commission approves retroactive reduction in drug trafficking sentences

IL Staff
July 18, 2014
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The United States Sentencing Commission unanimously voted Friday to retroactively apply a reduction in the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal trafficking offenders. The change could impact the sentences of more than 46,000 prisoners.

The Sentencing Commission voted in April to amend the guidelines to reduce by two levels the base offense levels in the Drug Quantity Table across drug types. Friday’s vote means that judges can now extend that reduction to current prisoners, but the reduced sentences cannot take effect until Nov. 1, 2015.

No offender would be released unless a judge reviews the case to determine whether a reduced sentence poses a risk to public safety and is otherwise appropriate, the commission says.  

It estimates that 46,290 offenders are now eligible to have their cases reviewed by a judge to determine if their sentences should be reduced. Those eligible for a reduction could have their sentences reduced by an average of 25 months; they would still serve on average 108 months.

The yearlong delay in implementation allows judges more time to consider whether each eligible offender is an appropriate candidate for a sentence reduction, the commission says, and gives the government time to object to any sentence reduction requests.

Congress has until Nov. 1 to disapprove the amendment to reduce drug sentencing guidelines. If Congress lets the guideline reductions stand, courts could then begin considering petitions from prisoners to reduce their sentences.
 

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  • Long Overdue
    The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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