Affect Of Retroactive Application Of The New Drug Guideline

By now, I hope you’re all aware that unless something unforeseen occurs, on November 1, 2014, the Sentencing Commission will implement a new drug guideline that will result in an across-the-board reduction to the guideline sentencing range for all defendants who are being sentenced on drug offenses. Because of the directive from AG Eric Holder, your clients should be getting this reduction now. This is easy enough, but the real important question is whether this reduction will apply to those defendants who have already been sentenced. Title 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) is clear that a new guideline amendment cannot be retroactively applied unless the Sentencing Commission is clear of this intention. Although the Sentencing Commission has not committed that the new amendment will be retroactively applied, it must be thinking about it as evidenced by its study that you can access by clicking on the attached link.

The Table found below shows that the retroactive application of the new guideline will lead to sentence reductions in as many as 51,141 cases nationwide, stretching as far back as 1993. The average sentence would be reduced by 23 months; however, 6% of the inmates would have their sentences reduced more than 60 months! Fully applied, the BOP would enjoy a savings of 83,525 bed years!

On a micro-level, the sentences of as many as 510 people sentenced in the Southern District of Ohio would be reduced and 7.5% of these inmates would be eligible for immediate release! Stay tuned.