January 14

U.S. Sentencing Commission Proposes Amendments to Drug Quantity Guidelines

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, in recent (preliminary) proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines, proposes lowering, by two levels, the base offense levels in the Drug Quantity Table across drug types in guideline §2D1.1, which governs drug trafficking cases. “Commission analysis indicates that such a change in the guidelines would result in a reduction of approximately 11 months for those drug trafficking offenders who would benefit, resulting in a reduction in the federal prison population of approximately 6,550 inmates by the fifth year after the change.”

The press release is available here, and the proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary, in a “reader-friendly” form, are now available here.

December 6

“An Offer You Can’t Refuse”

On December 5, 2013, Human Rights Watch issued a report on how U.S. federal prosecutors force drug defendants to plead guilty. The report, entitled “An Offer You Can’t Refuse,” may be downloaded here.

Related to this topic is U.S. District Judge Gleeson’s (E.D.N.Y.) Statement of Reasons in U.S. v. Kupa, issued on October 9, 2013, discussing federal prosecutors’ abuse of their power to dramatically increase mandatory minimum sentences by filing so-called §851 informations in drug trafficking cases. The Statement of Reasons in U.S. v. Kupa may be downloaded here.

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