Many times a federal criminal defendant can sit on pretrial status for a long time. Sometimes this status can last years. In Crack Cocaine cases, this can create a problem at sentencing when district courts try to decide which rules to follow.
Who FSA Applies to (and Who it Doesn’t)
The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) was enacted on August 3, 2010. Those that are sentenced before the enactment of FSA, get sentenced using the old rules. Those that commit their offenses after the enactment of FSA get sentenced under the new rules.
These new rules lower the base-offense levels of many crack cocaine offenses, change the mandatory minimum sentences to greatly increase the quantities of “cocaine base” that trigger them, and eliminate the mandatory minimum altogether for simple possession of small quantities of crack cocaine.
FSA Pipeline Cases
But what about pretrial defendants who committed their crime before FSA was enacted (August 3, 2010), but are sentenced afterwards? These are called “FSA Pipeline Cases” because the defendants in question were in the sentencing pipeline when FSA was enacted.
This is a question that has been asked and answered by four circuit courts. The First, Eleventh, and now Third Circuit (as of August 9, 2011) courts have said that the new rules apply to pipeline cases. The Seventh Circuit stands alone in ruling against applying the newer, fairer rules to pipeline cases.
Sentencing decisions in all other circuits will depend on representation. If you know somebody who was sentenced by any circuit other than the Seventh Circuit for crack cocaine charges, they may well be entitled to significant sentence reductions.
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Read More About Crack Cocaine Sentence Reductions
If you were sentenced under old law, see our main page about getting your sentence reduced.
Read about the Sentencing Commission’s decision to make FSA Retroactive.
Read the text of the Third Circuit’s recent decision to make FSA apply to pipeline cases.
2 thoughts on “3rd Circuit Applies Lower Mandatory Minimum Terms to FSA Pipeline Cases”
Pingback: Will Congress Make Crack Law Retroactive? | Bureau of Prisons Consulting
Hellow my name is MartinEdini. Wery good post! Thx 🙂