United States v. Maxwell

Brief of the Federal Public and Community Defenders for the Judicial Districts of the Sixth Circuit and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amici Curiae in Support of Reversal.

Brief filed: 11/06/2020


United States v. Maxwell

6th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 20-5755

Prior Decision

Decision below 2020 WL 3472913 (E.D.Ky. June 25, 2020)


The career offender guideline is problematic. The impact of the career offender guidelines was even more severe before the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. The severity of the career offender guideline does not advance the purposes of sentencing. The career offender guideline has an unwarranted adverse impact on Black defendants. A career offender sentence creates rather than avoids unwarranted disparity in the ordinary case. Courts must take special care when considering the need to avoid unwarranted disparity for those deemed career offenders and eligible for First Step Act relief.


Elizabeth B. Ford and Jennifer Niles Coffin, Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee, Knoxville, TN; Henry A. Martin and Michael C. Holley, Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville, TN; Stephen Ross Johnson, Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, PC, Knoxville, TN; Elizabeth A. Blackwood, NACDL, Washington, DC.

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