Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Crack Win at Supreme Court!

Today the U.S. Supreme Court released it's opinion in the case of Dorsey v. United States, which answers a pesky question left over after the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) increased the amounts of crack cocaine that trigger the federal mandatory minimum sentences for those crimes:  if you committed your federal crack crime before the FSA became law, but were sentenced after that date, does the old law or the new one apply to you?

The Court's answer is a big win for these so-called "pipeline" crack defendants:  they get the benefit of the new law, the FSA!  Which means shorter sentences than they would have gotten under the old law.  This ruling may also help out some pipeline crack offenders who were sentenced under the career offender guideline.

In other words, we won!  FAMM and the ACLU filed a "friend of the court" brief urging the Court to do the right thing and apply the FSA to pipeline cases -- and it did.  For years, public and private criminal defense lawyers across the country have been carrying the torch, arguing that pipeline defendants should benefit from the FSA.  This court victory would not have been possible without their years of advocacy and hard work, and we applaud them.

The full opinion, which was decided in a 5-4 vote, is available online here.

If you or a loved one are a pipeline defendant (you committed a federal crack offense before August 3, 2010, but were sentenced for that offense after August 3, 2010, and you were not sentenced under the FSA), you should talk to a lawyer about what your rights might be and whether you are entitled to a lower sentence.  Remember:  FAMM can't help you get a sentence reduction or give you legal advice!  Call those lawyers!