Sentencing Commission Fails to Reduce Crack Guidelines For All Defendants
What a mess. The U.S. Sentencing Commission implemented its emergency temporary amendments to the crack cocaine guidelines to comply with the Fair Sentencing Act passed by Congress that reduces the penalties for crack cocaine to be more in line with those for powder cocaine (roughly 18 to 1 instead of 100 to 1) and how did they do it?
They increased the base levels for amounts of crack that included the mandatory minimum threshold amounts from 24 and 30 to 26 and 32 instead of keeping them at 24 and 30. (Text of Amendments here.) What it means: Some crack defendants will see no change in their base offense levels under the Fair Sentencing Act, for example, those with quantities between 28 and 35 grams, 280 and 499 grams and 840 grams and 1.49 kilograms. (See page 9 of the Federal Defender's letter.)
There's also a big risk of double counting due to all the enhancements they threw in (some of which, like "violence" are not even defined.)
The Sentencing Commission asked for public comments on the change. They posed the question as: [More...]
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