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Showing 1 - 11 of 11 results

    • Brief

    Terry v. United States

    Brief of Retired Federal Judges, Former Federal Prosecutors, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner. 

    Argument: Defendants sentenced for crack cocaine offenses under the pre-2010 version of § 841(b)(1)(C) are eligible for resentencing under the First Step Act of 2018.  The First Step Act’s resentencing provisions apply to offenses whose penalties were “modified” by the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010.  Although defendants sentenced under the pre-2010 version of § 841(b)(1)(C) remain eligible for their original sentences after the statute was recently amended, the sentences they would have received under the post-2010 version of the statute almost certainly would have been lower—likely significantly lower.  That is because the Fair Sentencing Act dramatically expanded the drug quantities to which § 841(b)(1)(C) applies.  All else equal, a sentencing judge generally aims to align the various drug-quantity ranges in § 841(b) with the corresponding sentence ranges—assigning lower sentences for lower quantities and higher sentences for higher quantities.  In other words, the drug-quantity benchmarks in § 841(b) exert a powerful anchoring influence over a judge’s sentencing decisions.  And Congress changed the relevant anchor points 2010.  Thus, it “modified” the statutory penalties in § 841(b)(1)(C), and defendants sentenced under that provision are entitled to resentencing.

    • Brief

    United States v. Raia

    Brief of Amici Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and FAMM in Support of Defendant/Appellee’s Petition for Rehearing and/or Rehearing En Banc.

    Argument: Appellee Raia’s Petition for Rehearing addresses the discretion of a district court to excuse the 30-day waiting period for compassionate release under the First Step Act, 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1)(A). On April 2, 2020, the Panel declined to remand this case under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 12.1, stating that remand would be “futile.” In so ruling, the Panel necessarily concluded that the 30-day waiting period cannot be excused or waived. That conclusion was inconsistent with both Supreme Court and Circuit precedent. The ruling creates inconsistency in the Circuit’s treatment of all claims-processing rules, and undermines courts’ equitable authority in a wide range of cases. The30-day waiting period is a nonjurisdictional claims-processing rule. Courts may excuse noncompliance with that rule absent an express prohibition on doing so. Remand is therefore not “futile.” The Panel’s sua sponte conclusion to the contrary was error. Rehearing should be granted to correct the Panel’s error and confirm that judges are empowered to address “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances even when they arise exigently. At a minimum, the Panel should grant rehearing and order full briefing on this important issue, which was neither decided below nor fully briefed on appeal.