Third Circuit - First Step Act of 2018

United States v. Jackson, 964 F.3d 197 (3d Cir. 2020). The determination of whether a defendant sentenced for a “covered offense” under section 404 of the First Step Act turns on the defendant’s statute of conviction, rather than his actual conduct. Although the defendants possessed more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, which is the upper threshold under 18 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) as amended by the Act, they were only convicted of possessing five grams or more of crack, and thus were eligible for reductions.

United States v. Birt, 966 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2020). The defendant was not eligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act because his conviction under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 841(b)(1)(C) is not a “covered offense.” The text of those sections was not modified by the Fair Sentencing Act.

United States v. Easter, 975 F.3d 318 (3d Cir. 2020). Section 404(b) of the First Step Act, which permits a court to impose a reduced sentence for a covered offense, requires a court to consider all applicable § 3553(a) factors.

United States v. Easter, 975 F.3d 318 (3d Cir. 2020). Section 404(b) of the First Step Act, which permits a court to impose a reduced sentence for a covered offense, does not require plenary resentencing at which the defendant has a right to be present.

United States v. Hart, 983 F.3d 638 (3d Cir. 2020). Section 404(c) of the First Step Act, which prohibits multiple sentencing reductions under § 404(b), is not a jurisdictional bar, and thus the government may waive it.

United States v. Murphy, 998 F.3d 549 (3d Cir. 2021). In ruling on a § 404(b) motion, a court must use its previous drug quantity finding absent new facts. A court, however, must accurately recalculate the guidelines at the time of resentencing, including career-offender designation.

United States v. Andrews, --F.4th--, 2021 WL 3852617 (3d Cir. 2021). The policy statement at §1B1.13 does not apply to defendant-filed motions for compassionate release. Although a court independently determines what “extraordinary and compelling” reasons justify release, it may still consult §1B1.13.

United States v. Andrews, --F.4th--, 2021 WL 3852617 (3d Cir. 2021). The prospective elimination of § 924(c) stacking does not constitute extraordinary and compelling circumstances warranting compassionate release, but the court may consider those changes when weighing the § 3553(a) factors.

Training Topic: