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IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS AT THE SENTENCING COMMISSION

Sentencing Commission Votes on Amendments to the Guidelines, Including 2-Level Reduction in Drug Quantity Table: On April 10, 2014, the Sentencing Commission voted on various amendments to the sentencing guidelines, including an amendment that adjusts the Drug Quantity Table down by 2 levels (Amendment 782). Absent objection by Congress, the amendments will take effect on November 1, 2014. 

On July 18, 2014, the Commission voted to amend USSG §1B1.10.  The change made the amendment to the drug guidelines retroactive, although reduced sentences cannot take effect until November 1, 2015.  The Commission also clarified that the starting point for calculating a reduction comparable to the substantial assistance reduction given at the original sentencing is the bottom of the amended guideline range, not the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.  Read the full text of the retroactivity amendment in this Reader-Friendly Version.  For practice pointers see these resource materials.

Practitioners should use the vote on the drug guidelines to argue for a variance or continuance starting immediately.  Note that, according to this DOJ press release, prior to the Commission's vote, DOJ had directed "prosecutors not to object if defendants in court seek to have the newly proposed guidelines applied to them during sentencing." 

For more on all of the amendments on which the Commission voted, including drugs, read this Summary of 2014 Guideline Amendments by Sentencing Resource Counsel.  The full text of the amendments is available in this Reader-Friendly Version.

Sentencing Resource Counsel Rebut Commission's Booker Report: In December 2012 the Commission issued its Report on the Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing. In the following articles and fact sheets, Sentencing Resource Counsel have rebutted various claims made in the Commission's Report:

For more on the Commission's legislative efforts, see our Important Legislative Developments in Sentencing page.

Defender Recommendations to Sentencing Commission: The Federal Defender community frequently submits written comments to the USSC on a variety of matters, including proposed amendments to the guidelines. These submissions, which may provide ideas for challenging guideline sentences, can be accessed on our Defender Recommendations to Sentencing Commission page.