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Sentencing Reduction Information

Courtesy: U.S. Sentencing Commission  |  Complete Release

“The reduction in drug guidelines that becomes effective tomorrow represents a significant step toward the goal the Commission has prioritized of reducing federal prison costs and overcrowding without endangering public safety. Commissioners worked together to develop an approach that advances the causes of fairness, justice, fiscal responsibility, and public safety, and I am very pleased that we were able to agree unanimously on this reasonable solution. I am also gratified that Congress permitted this important reform to go forward.

This amendment is an important start toward addressing the problem of over-incarceration at the federal level. Commission researchers estimate that applying the amendment going forward may reduce the prison population by 6,500 in five years and far more over time, while more than 46,000 current prisoners could be eligible to have their sentences reduced by retroactive application of the amendment. Still, only Congress can act to fully solve the crisis in federal prison budgets and populations and address the many systemic problems the Commission has found resulting from mandatory minimum penalties. I hope that Congress will act promptly to pass comprehensive sentencing reform legislation.”

Relevant Information

Simplified Q&A
On July 18, 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to make the two-level reduction in drug guidelines retroactive so that prisoners serving drug sentences can apply for a sentence reduction. Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions. | Link

Federal Public Defender Website for Lubbock County
The Federal Public Defender’s Office offers effective counsel to federal defendants who cannot afford to retain their own representation. The services provided by the Federal Public Defender Offices are guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment and the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), 18 U.S.C. 3006A. The Northern District of Texas provides representation for indigent defendants charged in North Texas and maintains offices in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Lubbock, and Amarillo.  |  Link  
Federal Public Defender Information Letter
On July 18, 2014, the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to reduce the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal drug trafficking offenders. The Commission also voted to apply the reductions retroactively. These amendments became effective on November 1, 2014. The Commission, in promulgating this guideline reduction, made the following observations:  |  Link
Form to File Motion for 3582 Sentence Reduction
This form motion should only be used when requesting that your sentence be reduced based upon Amendment 782 to USSG § 1B1.10 which is effective November 1, 2014. The Amendment reduces the base offense level in the drug quantity tables at USSG §§ 2D1.1 and 2D1.11 and retroactively applies to cases sentenced prior to November 1, 2014.  |  More
Lubbock Public Defenders
List of the Federal Public Defenders (Attorneys) In Lubbock, TX (That Are Assigned to This)  |  List
Sample, Motions, Briefs, Petitions, Orders for Retroactivity of Crack Cocaine Amendment
This link relates to retroactive application of crack cocaine guideline amendment  |  Link


Additional Information

More Links, Articles, and Documents

FAMM – Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Article – vox.com

Article – vox.com

Video – United States Sentencing Commission informational video


The Key to Unlocking New Futures

Frequently Asked Questions

Example Reduction Request Form

Additional Notes
The United States sentencing commission has the statutory duty to ensure that the federal prison population will not exceed capacity
  • Reducing the federal prison population has become an urgent issue with the sentencing commission.
  • The federal prison population is three times more than what it was in 1991.
  • Federal prisons are 32% over capacity and 52% for the highest security facilities.
  • 70% of drug trafficking offenders would see their sentencing reduced on average 11 months but have the potential to have their sentencing reduced between 24 and 37 months.
  • Another change in the guidelines is the drug quantity table. The drug quantity table has been lowered by two levels – before drug quantity levels were set above the mandatory minimum penalties, drug quantity was the primary driver of all drug sentencing.
  • Before there was only one specific offense characteristic in the drug guideline now there are 16 specific offense characteristics including enhancement for violence, firearms, aggravating role, and a host of other factors to help ensure that dangerous offenders receive longer sentencing.
  • Quantity while still an important proxy for seriousness no longer has to be quite as central a calculation.
  • Before guideline sentencing arrangements were set above mandatory minimum sentencing to provide incentive for lower-level offenders to plead guilty.
  • The commission did a study to determine the recidivism factor and determined that there was no difference in the recidivism numbers for someone who served their full time, two years, or five years which also led them to the decision of reducing sentences.
  • The amendment is retroactive (like it is unfair for people today to get less of a charge for individuals who are in prison 10 to 15 years ago for the same amount but received larger greater time).
  • Once the amendments take affect the sentencing court can consider a possible sentence and reduction for inmates meeting certain criteria set by 18 United States code section 3582c2 and the commissions policy statement 1b110. The data estimates that 46,000 will be eligible for sentence reduction, the average sentence reduction will be 18% or 25 months -current average sentence is 11 years, under the new guidelines it’s nine years.
  • Drug amendment reduction went into effect November 1, 2014. Qualifying inmates can begin to apply for reduction of sentencing November 1, 2014, earliest that any offender can be released is November 1, 2015 , However the commission anticipates that the courts will begin considering petitions for sentencing reduction and entering orders. granting those reductions November 1, 2014 Provided that the orders are executed on November 1, 2015 or later
  • The reason why the commission voted to delay the application process of reduction of sentencing to be able to effectively address risk of Public Safety, also reduce the difficulty of the change being also for retroactive, and it will allow judges to be able to handle the initial influx of motions for reduced sentencing, and be able to carefully review every case to determine if the sentence reduction is appropriate. Second will ensure that the Bureau of Prisons can give every offender the usual transitional services and opportunities including halfway house, home confinement, that help increase the chances for a successful reentry into society, allows the Officer of Probation and pretrial services adequate time to prepare so that release offenders can be effectively supervised.
  • There are three criteria for an offender to be genuinely eligible for a reduction of sentence. First – offender must be serving a term of imprisonment, the guideline range applicable to the offender must have been lowered according to the 2014 drug amendment, and the offender must not be already scheduled to be released prior to November 1, 2015.
  • Who is not eligible for a reduction of sentencing – The vigils who were involved with large drug quantities, level of drug type, the career offender guideline, the reduced term of imprisonment cannot be less than what the offender has already served, some defendants who did not receive a government motion for offering substantial assistance may have a mandatory minimum penalty which is in excess of the applicable guideline range.
  • When an offender is eligible, the judge is not required to reduce the sentencing, the judge has factors in the 1b110 law that he must consider to determine if the reduction is warranted, the items that he will consider is also included 18 USC section 3553a public Safety and the defendants post sentencing conduct.
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