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Prisoners can seek reductions of crack cocaine sentences

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded two judges in the Northern District of Indiana should take another look at two defendants’ requests to have their sentences for crack cocaine offenses reduced based on revised sentencing guidelines.

Adolfo Wren and Anthony Moton asked the District Court to cut their sentences under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2), but the judges declined. Both men are serving sentences below that normal statutory floor because they provided valuable assistance to prosecutors. Each received 100 months in prison, lower than the 121-151 months of the original sentencing range. The new range is 100-125 months for Wren and 84-105 months for Moton.

The District judges concluded that U.S.S.G. Section 5G1.1 prevents the men from receiving lower sentences because that section provides that when all or part of a guideline range lies below a statutory minimum sentence, the statutory minimum becomes the lower bound of the range, giving Moton an amended range of 120 and Wren a range of 120-125 months. The prosecutor argued that only defendants who are beneficiaries of a lower range can receive lower sentences.

“Only one decision we have found deals with the situation in which Wren and Moton found themselves — an original Guideline range above the statutory floor, a sentence below that floor because of substantial assistance to the prosecutor, and a retroactive change to the Guidelines that (apart from §5G1.1) permits a reduction in the sentence. United States v. Liberse, 688 F.3d 1198 (11th Cir. 2012), holds that in these circumstances the district court may grant a motion under §3582(c)(2) without resetting the Guideline range at the statutory minimum,” Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote.

“The Sentencing Commission may want to take a close look at the way §1B1.10(b)(1) works when the original sentencing range is at a presumptive statutory minimum. It is difficult to see why prisoners in that situation who received a substantial-assistance or safety-valve sentence should be excluded from a retroactive Guideline reduction, while prisoners whose original ranges were just slightly above the statutory floor are eligible for the benefit of the retroactive change.”

The two defendants can seek relief under Section 3582(c)(2) as the guidelines stand, the judges held, and the 7th Circuit sent the cases back to the lower court so the District judges may exercise the discretion they possess in the cases United States of America v. Adolfo Wren and Anthony Moton, 12-1565, 12-1580.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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