Criminal Sentence reduction First Step Act.


Byline: Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

Where a defendant has filed a motion for reduction of his sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018, he is eligible for relief under the statute, so the sentence should be reduced from 360 months to 288 months.

" In November 2006, defendant Andre Rosado was convicted after a jury trial of four crimes: distribution of cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because he was a career offender, and because the statutory maximum penalty on two of the counts was life imprisonment, the applicable guideline sentencing range was 420 months to life. He was sentenced to a non-guideline sentence with a term of imprisonment of 360 months followed by eight years of supervised release.

"Defendant contends that he was convicted of a 'covered offense' within the meaning of the Act, and is therefore eligible to seek a reduced sentence. Specifically, he states that he was convicted of violating 841(a)(1) and sentenced under 841(b)(1)(B)(iii), and because 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) is a federal criminal statute whose statutory penalties were modified by Section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, he was convicted of a 'covered offense.'

"The First Circuit has recently resolved a dispute as to whether the term 'covered offense' in the First Step Act refers to the statute of conviction or the underlying criminal conduct of the defendant. See United States v. Smith, 954 F.3d 446 (1st Cir. Apr. 8, 2020).

"Thus, all cocaine-base offenses under 841 are 'covered offenses.' Defendant here, who was convicted for a cocaine-base offense under 841(a) and sentenced under 841(b)(1)((B)(iii), was therefore convicted of a 'covered offense.' Because his offense was committed before August 3, 2010, he is eligible for relief under the First Step...

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