Archive | First Step Act

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Second Circuit: On a motion under the First Step Act, a court isn’t obligated to “recalculate” the Sentencing Guidelines range to account for new Guidelines provisions “or new judicial interpretations of existing Guidelines.” Only Guideline-changes “that flow from the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010” have to be considered. But there’s an acknowledged circuit split. United States v. Moore, __F.3d__, No. 19-1390-cr, 2020 WL 5523205 (2d Cir. Sept. 15, 2020).

In United States v. Moore, No. 19-1390-cr (available here), the Circuit (Nardini, joined by Chin and Sullivan), holds that, on a motion for a sentence reduction under Section 404 of the First Step Act, a court isn’t required to “recalculate” the Guidelines range under the current law, unless (and only to the extent) the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 changed the Guidelines range.

Here, the district court found Moore eligible for relief under the First Step Act, as indeed he was: he was sentenced in 2009 for  “possessing with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B).” Op. at 4.  The district court  nevertheless declined to exercise it’s discretionary authority, under the Act, to reduce the (188-month) sentence. The Circuit affirmed that decision. Op. at 2, 26-27.

Moore’s argument was that the district court miscalculated the Guidelines …


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Categories: career offender, First Step Act, guideline

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Friday, April 24th, 2020

Second Circuit: Reduced Guidelines Range Not A Prerequisite For First Step Act Relief

In United States v. Holloway, No. 19-1035 (available here), the Circuit (Nardini, joined by Parker and Livingston), held that a motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018 is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B), not § 3582(c)(2). Consequently, the limitations in U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 do not apply, and a defendant need not show that application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 would reduce his Guidelines range in order to demonstrate his eligibility for First Step Act relief.

Here, the defendant was convicted of a 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) crack offense with a prior felony information, resulting in a statutory sentencing range of 20 years to life. Because he was a career offender, his Guidelines range was 262–327 months. In light of the defendant’s cooperation, the district court sentenced him, pre-Fair Sentencing Act, to 168 months. After the passage …

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Categories: 3582(c)(2), First Step Act

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Categories: 3582(c)(2), First Step Act

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Friday, August 16th, 2019

Second Circuit Remands For Resentencing Because of Uncertainty About Whether the Judge Understood That he Could Consider the Severity of Mandatory Consecutive Minimum Sentences In Sentencing for the Predicate Offenses.

In United States v. Brown, No. 18-834 (2d Cir. Aug. 16, 2019), the Court of Appeals reversed a 39-year sentence and remanded for resentencing because it was uncertain whether the judge understood his discretion, after the Supreme Court’s decision Dean v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1170 (2017), to consider the severity of the mandatory consecutive minimum sentences required by §924© in determining the sentence for the predicate offenses. The case involved two robberies and two §924(c)brandishing counts, which, before the First Step Act, required 7 years for the first and 25 years for the second §924(c)count. Defense counsel had asked for one day on the predicate robberies because the mandatory consecutive sentences were so severe. Before Dean, the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Chavez, 549 F.3d 119 (2d Cir. 2017)had precluded such consideration. Neither case was mentioned below but the court imposed 84 months …


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Categories: 924(c), First Step Act, sentencing

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