Supreme Court Rules Amended Crack Cocaine Guidelines Don't Allow for Full Re-Sentencing

The Supreme Court today ruled against Percy Dillon in his challenge to to his sentence for crack cocaine. Details of the case are here.

[T]he issue is whether the two level reduction in federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine implemented a few years ago allows judges, when implementing the reduction, to conduct a complete resentencing.

Many defendants were sentenced to huge terms of imprisonment for crack when the guidelines were mandatory. Since Booker in 2005, they have become discretionary. So when a defendant files a motion to have his or her sentence reduced under the guideline amendment, shouldn't the Judge be allowed to resentence under current law, treating the guidelines as advisory only? Put another way, shouldn't Booker be followed for sentencing modification decisions?

The Supreme Court says "No." The opinion, written by Justice Sotomayor, is here.

< Supreme Court: Employees' Text Messages Not Private | ICE is Rebranding Its Image, Less Focus on Civil Immigration Enforcement >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Just who does this Dillion guy think he is? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Yes2Truth on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 02:31:46 PM EST

    Think of all the children who've been poisoned by
    the cocaine he may have sold.  And all the other
    horrendous things that he and he alone is responsible for.

    Why, his sentence should be INcreased for having the
    audacity to try and get it reduced.  What does he
    THINK our jurisprudence is based on? Christianity?
    Rationality?  Tolerance of lifestyle diversity?

    He, and all other deviants who indulge in non-Chrisitian (I.E. other than alcohol-based)
    substances need to learn a lesson.  "Stick with wine, or you're gonna do flat time).  Bailiff, whack him on the p*p*, then haul his sorry a*
    outa here & lock him up.  Court is adjourned."

    "Turn, Turn to the Rain and the Wind" (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 03:58:49 PM EST
    "99 years, he just doesn't deserve."  Percy's Song, by Bob Dylan.  (Not "Dillon," but close enough.)  Listen here.

    ex post facto (none / 0) (#3)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 04:00:28 PM EST
    I'm sure that Talk Left would howl if a new law INCREASING sentences passed and prosecutors tried to resentence already-convicted inmates from years past to additional time.

    not even remotely the issue (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 07:00:23 PM EST
    There is no change of law here, just a retroactive guideline which no one contested. The issue was whether a full re-sentencing could occur, in light of subsequent Supreme Court cases making the guidelines discretionary rather than mandatory, and considering the factors in 18 USC 3553(a) which are not new.

    Ex Post Facto applies to statutes and there is no new statute involved in this case.

    The Sentencing Guidelines have always provided that the guideline in place at the time of sentencing applies, unless it was lower at the time the crime was committed, in which case the lower one applies.


    and pardons (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 04:06:43 PM EST
    If, as Stevens says, the sentence of 27 years is indeed clearly excessive, then some executive has the power to commute it.

    Only the President (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 08:23:00 PM EST
    has the authority to commute a federal criminal sentence. (It's in the Constitution. Art. II, sec. 2, cl. 1.)  And political pressure has sadly caused the frequency with which presidents exercise their clemency power to drop like a lead balloon in recent years.  Lots of info on this subject available here.