CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DiVita on Substantial Assistance and Sentence Reductions for Crack Offenders

Catherine DiVita has posted 'Cracking' the Code: Interpreting Sentence Reduction Requirements in Favor of Eligibility for Crack Cocaine Offenders Who Avoided a Mandatory Minimum for Their Substantial Assistance to Authorities (Boston College Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act increased the quantities triggering mandatory minimums for crack cocaine offenses and directed the United States Sentencing Commission to make similar reductions to the crack cocaine guideline ranges. After the Commission made these changes retroactive, offenders sentenced in accordance with the previous scheme sought sentence reductions. Due to the circuits’ differing interpretations of the eligibility requirements for a reduction, offenders who avoided a mandatory minimum for their substantial assistance to authorities have been held both eligible and ineligible, though similarly situated. This Note argues that courts should consistently hold such offenders eligible because this interpretation comports with the text of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and furthers the policy goals behind the FSA, the Commission and the criminal justice system in general.

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