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    • Brief

    United States v. Jones, 482 F.Supp.3d 969 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2020)

    Order granting motion for compassionate release.


    Argument: Anthony Jones pleaded guilty to several counts, including five 924(c) counts. He was sentenced to 357 months, which the court reduced to time served in granting his motion, a total reduction of 15 months.

    On retroactivity:  “It cannot be denied that FSA § 403reflects a “legislative rejection” of stacking and a “legislative declaration of what level of punishment is adequate” for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Redd, 444 F.Supp.3d at 723-24. Though the statute did not provide automatic relief to defendants like Mr. Jones, it has in no uncertain terms established that sentences like Mr. Jones's “unfair and unnecessary.” Id.”

    On finality of sentencing:

    “The Court likewise rejects the Government's objection that reducing a defendant's sentence based on subsequent legal changes would “undermine the finality of sentences.” Opp. at 9. Although “the principle of finality” is indisputably “essential to the operation of our criminal justice system,” Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 309, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334 (1989), it is not without exceptions. As the Ninth Circuit has explained, sentence reductions under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) are “acts of lenity”; as such, they “are not constrained by the general policies underlying initial sentencing or even plenary resentencing proceedings.” United States v. Padilla-Diaz, 862 F.3d 856, 861 (9th Cir. 2017). In other words, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) represents Congress's judgment that the generic interest in finality must give way in certain individual cases.”

    • Brief

    Gurrola v. Duncan

    Brief Of Amici Curiae The Dkt Liberty Project, The Cato Institute, Collateral Consequences Resource Center, Clause 40 Foundation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, The Macarthur Justice Center, The R Street Institute, The Sentencing Project, And The National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers In Support Of Plaintiffs-Appellants.


    Argument: State licensing schemes that categorically bar individuals with prior criminal convictions from holding various professions are irrational. Across the country, these licensing schemes cover almost every profession imaginable. However, these regulations frequently do nothing other than bar those with criminal records from entering a profession. These regulations prevent those with felony convictions from, among other things, operating a taxicab, performing marriages, and working as a tag officer at a state department of motor vehicles. This is true regardless of whether the individual has been convicted of a major fraud, a violent crime, or something as minor as felony littering. States regularly impose criminal-history restrictions on occupational licenses that are entirely unrelated to the applicant’s fitness to be a contributing member to the profession. And these restrictions—which bar individuals with prior convictions from finding gainful employment—contribute to recidivism, further underscoring their irrationality. Although courts have held that these licensing schemes are subject to only rational basis review, rational basis is not a toothless standard; it requires that a court find some logical relationship between the restriction—here, two felony convictions—and the occupation being regulated—here, emergency medical technicians (“EMTs”). Courts historically have been critical of, and have struck down under this test, broad regulatory schemes that bar membership of an applicant who has any felony conviction. Because California’s regulatory scheme bars individuals convicted of any two felonies without regard for whether the crimes at issue implicate the applicant’s fitness to become an EMT, including to fight fires, this scheme likewise fails rational basis review. As a result, this Court should vacate the district court’s order granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss and remand this case for further proceedings.