In its ruling, the Supreme Court went beyond the semantics of s3582(c) (2), and scrutinized Congress’ intent when it conceived of and legislated the statute.
New York, New York (PRWEB) April 29, 2013
In the 12th installment of his ongoing look at key cases that have defined United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on the 2010 Dillon v. United States 130 S. Ct. 2863 case, which established that where a court imposes a new sentence based on an amended Sentencing Guideline, any reduction in the sentence must be within the amended Guideline range.
In 1993, the defendant and petitioner Dillon was convicted of several drug-related offenses involving powder cocaine and crack cocaine, and a linked firearms offense. At sentencing, Dillon was deemed to have a “total offense level” of 38, which, when put in the context of his criminal history, equated to a sentence of 262-327 months per United States Sentencing Guidelines. Ultimately, Dillon was sentenced to 322 months in prison.
In 2007, the United States Sentencing Guidelines were reduced per the Sentencing Commission, and the amendment was made retroactive. In light of this, Dillon appealed his 322 month sentence per 18 U.S.C. s3582(c) (2), which allows a District Court to reduce a sentence when there is a change to the Guidelines upon which they were based.
Specifically, Dillon argued that per United States v. Booker, 125 S.Ct. (2005), and per the Sixth Amendment (which affirms a defendant’s right to a jury trial), the District Court was both authorized and obligated to interpret the Guidelines as advisory, and as such impose a new sentence below the Guidelines range.
The District Court partially accepted Dillon’s argument and reduced his sentence to 270 months, which was at the low end of the new Guidelines range. In explaining why it declined to issue a new sentence below the amended Guidelines, the Court stated that it lacked the authority to do so. This position was affirmed by the Third Circuit, which cited Guidelines policy statement (U.S.S.G.1B1.10), which held any reduction to a sentence below the minimum Guideline range should not be contemplated.
Dillon appealed to the Supreme Court, which ultimately rejected his submission in 2010. In its ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed two key points:
1. United States v. Booker, 125 S.Ct. (2005) does not allow the District Court to view the Guidelines as advisory.
2. Retroactive amendments to the Guidelines are not synonymous with “re-sentencing proceedings,” and therefore defendants are not denied their Sixth Amendment rights if and when their sentence is adjusted.
“In its ruling, the Supreme Court went beyond the semantics of s3582(c) (2), and scrutinized Congress’ intent when it conceived of and legislated the statute,” commented Stephen N. Preziosi, whose practice is located in New York City’s Times Square. “And per that exercise, it determined that Congress’ intent was to enable prisoners to benefit from more lenient sentences as a result of post-sentence adjustments and amendments – not to authorize full discretion outside the Guideline range and, in so doing, invoke a re-sentencing process. Ultimately, while judges are still expected to use their discretion, they must stay within the Guideline range.”
Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Dillon v. United States 130 S. Ct. 2683
is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/re-sentencing-under-3582-and-the-sixth-amendent/.
For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.
About the Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.
Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate
Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) awareness campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law.
Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.