Published on: Saturday, April 3, 2021

Woman broke tailbone at age 18 and starts using prescribed opioids, and gets hooked. She fills forged prescriptions, using half and selling half. She estimates that she sold 52k pills over two years, though the gov't's math is a higher—175k pills. She's sentenced to 210 months. Despite her lawyer submitting an Anders brief, Fourth Circuit: More than 17 years in prison for this offense is way too long and her lawyer was ineffective. Reversed and remanded. Dissent: While I have sympathy for her because she is a victim of the opioid epidemic herself, her sentence was at the low end of the Guidelines range so it was not unreasonable and does not prove her lawyer is ineffective.

The case is United States v. Freeman, 19-4104 (4th Cir. Mar. 30, 2021).