United States Sentencing Commission adopted amendments

In November of this year, the United States Sentencing Commission adopted amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Amendment 814 makes changes to §1B1.13 concerning the standard under which a motion for reduction in sentence may be brought. This motion is colloquially known as a Compassionate Release motion.

The policy statement to §1B1.13 now makes explicit what courts across the country have known—18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) allows courts to consider a host of circumstances that could qualify as extraordinary and compelling reasons to reduce an individual’s sentence. The §1B1.13 policy statement now explicitly states that “extraordinary and compelling circumstances” that could allow for a reduction in sentence include medical circumstances or inadequate medical care, family circumstances that necessitate the need for the inmate to step in as a caregiver, an inmate enduring sexual and physical abuse, or if the individual endured an unusually long sentence. Additionally, defendants who are housed at a jail that is affected by, or at imminent risk of, an ongoing infectious disease outbreak or public health emergency can now bring a motion for a reduced sentence under the guidelines, provided they can show that due to personal medical conditions, they are at an increased risk of severe complications or death that cannot be mitigated if they are exposed. Furthermore, the new amendment gives courts discretion to determine whether a change in the law that would result in a lower sentence currently could be a ground for a sentence reduction. To qualify for a reduction under that specific subsection, the inmate must have served at least ten years and there must be a gross disparity between the sentence being served.

Finally, the new guidelines have a catch all “other reasons” category that give the Director of the BOP and courts the discretion to identify an extraordinary and compelling reason that would warrant a reduction in sentence, regardless of whether or not it is explicitly named in the policy statement. While rehabilitation alone does not constitute an extraordinary and compelling reason, it can can be considered in combination with other reasons that do warrant a reduction. This amendment is a welcome addition to the guidelines that brings the reduction in sentence policy statement more consistent with the spirit of the First Step Act.

When under investigation it is important to follow the advice of your attorney and not speak about the alleged crimes over social media. LGR Law, LLC’s federal criminal defense attorneys have the essential skills to protect your legal rights. Should you or a loved one receive any indication that you are a target of a federal investigation, contact Lorraine Gauli-Rufo, and the attorneys at LGR Law immediately. (973) 239-4300, www.lgrlawgroup.com, [email protected]

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