US Sentencing Commission Holds Important Public Hearings

February U.S.S.C. Public Hearings

February is set to be a significant month in the world of the United States federal sentencing. The US Sentencing Commission has announced two public hearings regarding big sentencing issues involving federal criminal justice.

The first hearing, announced Wednesday, is all about federal Child Pornography sentencing. A huge public reaction has occurred because many federal Child Porn possessors are getting much larger sentences than the offenders who actually create  that pornography and sexually assault the pictured victims.

The purpose of the public hearing is for the Commission to gather testimony from invited witnesses regarding the issue of penalties for child pornography offenses in federal sentencing.

The second hearing, also announced Wednesday, regards sentencing in the post-Booker world.

The purpose of the public hearing is for the Commission to gather testimony from invited witnesses on federal sentencing options pursuant to United States v. Booker.

The outcome of these hearing could be effective policies that alter sentences both in the future and retroactively. These decisions are made based on these hearings. Although the hearings themselves are public, the general public is not allowed to comment and testify. Only a handful of invites were sent out for each hearing.

Check back soon for information on the outcomes of these hearings.

Nearly 4,000 Federal Inmates Have Received Crack Cocaine Sentence Reductions

Status Update: Crack Sentence Reductions

In this new article from The Commercial Appeal, the story of one of the many federal inmates getting their crack cocaine sentences reductions is laid out. According to a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), over 3,700 inmates have already had their sentences reduced. An excerpt from the article:

Orreco Lyons received an early Christmas present last month when a federal judge in Tennessee reduced his crack-cocaine trafficking sentence from 71/2 years to just over six years, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Lyons, 31, is one of thousands of federal prisoners who are benefiting from a retroactive change in federal sentencing laws that aims to narrow the disparity of punishments for crack-cocaine offenders versus those sentenced for powder cocaine.

Reductions, which can range from a few months to a few years, depend on a number of factors, such as whether an inmate has a prior criminal record, whether other crimes also were committed and whether a weapon was involved. Federal Public Defender Steve Shankman of Memphis is reviewing more than 200 cases. He believes that up to 80 percent “will receive some relief.” With the retroactive change going into effect last Nov. 1, 1,480 inmates were immediately released and 2,256 others had sentence reductions but still had time to serve before being released, said Ed Ross, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

60% of Estimated Sentences Still Need Reductions

The United States Sentencing Commission, when considering making the reduced sentences retroactive, estimated that over 12,000 inmates were potentially eligible for a sentence reduction.

That means that about 8,000 federal inmates are still waiting to have their sentences reduced. These reductions don’t happen automatically, however. To find out how this process is done, give PCR Consultants a call for a free Crack Cocaine Sentence Reduction Consultation.

Let Us Help You!

Call us at (480) 382-9287 and get a free consultation to find out more information about how we can help reduce or terminate federal probation or supervised release terms.

For more ways to contact us, visit our contact us page for contact form and e-mail addresses.

Learn about us and how our services work on our about page. You can learn more about these crack cocaine sentence reductions on our main page on this issue.

Early Release from Federal Probation – What Judges Must Consider

Early Release from Federal Probation

Post #1 of a 3-Part Series

In this first part to our series on early release from federal probation early (or supervised release), we’ll take a close look at the statutory factors that judges must consider when somebody on supervision asks for early termination. The only unbreakable rule here is that one year of supervision must expire before anybody can motion for early termination. The rest is up to the judge.

The next installment deals with the factors by policy that judges do, or may, consider.

Judicial Considerations by Law

Most of the factors judges must use to determine an appropriate sentence1 are also required to be used when terminating part of that sentence. Since probation and supervised release are part of a sentence, terminating them early is the same thing as reducing sentences.

Title 18 U.S.C. §3582(a) says that:

“(a) Factors To Be Considered in Imposing a Term of Imprisonment.— The court, in determining whether to impose a term of imprisonment, and, if a term of imprisonment is to be imposed, in determining the length of the term, shall consider the factors set forth in section 3553 (a) to the extent that they are applicable, recognizing that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation. In determining whether to make a recommendation concerning the type of prison facility appropriate for the defendant, the court shall consider any pertinent policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994 (a)(2).” (emphasis added)

So what are these factors? You can read what these factors are in the law here.

For a detailed review and discussion of what these factors mean, read our comprehensive e-book on terminating federal supervised release and probation here.

The best news, however is a 2011 amendment to the Guidelines Manual where the USSC2 specifically encourages judges grant early release from federa

l probation in specific cases. This is the first time they’ve every encouraged early termination of supervision at all.

What this all means

Not since the 80’s has there been a more advantageous time in the federal system to get released early from supervision. Whether on probation or supervised release, the USSC has realized that probation officers have too many people to supervise, and no budget to hire more probation officers. So the logical conclusion is to cut low-risk people free from supervision!

Get Started Today

To get started with your early termination documents now, contact us by e-mail or phone to get the process going. Its fast and easy!

 

Read our free e-book on the A-to-Z of federal probation and supervision!

  1. At least what is legally considered an appropriate sentence []
  2. United States Sentencing Commission []