Crack Cocaine Reduction Made Retroactive

Huge News for Relief Seekers

The United States Sentencing Commission, in a unanimous vote on June 30, 2011, made retroactive the sentencing guideline in certain Crack Cocaine reduction cases to those already sentenced and serving time for their offenses. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 changed the guidelines for federal sentencing in all future “Cocaine Base” cases. However, the applicability of these changes to those serving unfair sentences under the previous law was unclear.

Read more on the change from the NY Times or from the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. Here is an excerpt from the official press release:

Retroactivity of the amendment will become effective on November 1, 2011― the same day that the proposed permanent amendment would take effect ― unless Congress acts to disapprove the amendment. …

Not every federal crack cocaine offender in federal prison will be eligible for a lower sentence as a result of this decision. The Commission estimates, based on Fiscal Year 2010 sentencing data, that approximately 12,000 offenders may be eligible to seek a sentence reduction. The average sentence reduction for eligible offenders will be approximately 37 months, and the overall impact on the eligible offender population will occur incrementally over decades. The average sentence for these offenders, even after reduction, will remain about 10 years. The Bureau of Prisons estimates that retroactivity of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 amendment could result in a savings of over $200 million within the first five years after retroactivity takes effect.

The Commission’s vote to give retroactive application to the proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines does not give retroactive effect to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Only Congress can make a statute retroactive. Many crack offenders will still be required under federal law to serve mandatory five- or 10-year sentences because of the amount of crack cocaine involved in their offenses…..

A federal sentencing judge will make the final determination of whether an offender is eligible for a lower sentence and by how much that sentence should be lowered in accordance with instruction given by the Commission. The ultimate determination will be made only after consideration of many factors, including the Commission’s instruction to consider whether reducing an offender’s sentence would pose a risk to public safety.

Reduced Sentences

Under this new policy, inmates serving time for these cases are eligible to get an average of 37 months taken off their sentence! These reductions are not automatic, though. A motion must be submitted to the correct U.S. District Court for a judge to review the case before any time is taken off an inmate’s sentence.

An attorney can be used to submit this motion on behalf of an inmate, and a large attorney’s fee will be charged. Let PCR Consultants handle this procedural issue for you at a fraction of the cost and with the same results!

Learn how we work on our About page. Contact us today about this exciting development by phone or send a message through our Contact page. We can then contact you with the answers you are looking for. First consultations are always free!