Archive for September 2010

New Jerse Attorneys Practicing Federal Criminal Defense…

NEW JERSEY LAWYERS PRACTICING FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE BEFORE THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY REVIEW RECENT APPEALLATE DECISION DECLINING TO EXTEND THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT RETROACTIVELY.

The Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), recently signed into law by President Obama, addresses the disparity between the sentencing ranges applicable to a defendant convicted of an offense involving crack cocaine and the sentencing range applicable to upon convictions for other types of illegal narcotics. Prior to the FSA, the sentencing range for defendants convicted of an offense involving crack cocaine was substantially higher than other forms of illegal narcotics. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled, however, that the FSA cannot be applied retroactively to authorize a District Court Judge to sentence appellants below the mandatory minimum term in effect when they were sentenced. Another provision of the FSA also raised the minimum amount of crack cocaine necessary to trigger the five year mandatory minimum prison term from five grams to 28 grams. In the case before the Court, the appellant pled guilty to possession of less than 28 grams but the Court relied upon the Savings Statute to rule against retroactivity of the FSA as the intent of Congress must be expressly provided in order to “release or extinguish any penalty” under an existing statute. Congressional intent under the FSA was not so expressly provided according to the Court.

Legal Quote of the Week:

Evil is obvious only in retrospect.

Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, 1983