Changes Affecting Federal Cases - More favorable Sentencing
After what seems like decades of a constant ratcheting up of maximum sentences, and an increased use of mandatory minimum sentences, there have been some favorable changes, both in the books and on the way. Each year, amendments are proposed to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Last year, a 2-point decrease in the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses went into effect. This change was retroactive, and , with a Rule 35 sentencing reduction, for cooperation completed after sentencing, a client was released from custody for time served. Others will be released ahead of schedule. This change impacts thousands of persons in custody for federal drug crimes.
This year, amendments are going into effect November 1st that will affect sentencings for financial crimes, such as mail and wire fraud, antitrust offenses and crimes where a loss amount is calculated. The Guideline tables for measuring monetary enhancements for these offenses are being adjusted for inflation, and the result is that certain loss amounts, which increase sentencing guidelines, will have a lesser impact after November 1st. We have delayed at least 1 sentencing in part to take advantage of these proposed changes.
On the State level, changes are also being discussed which could lessen sentences in Georgia State cases. Seth Kirschenbaum has been on a committee discussing changes to minimum mandatory sentences and other provisions which generally would give judges more discretion to consider sentences other than jail, in approprite cases. Governor Deal is intent on reforms within the criminal justice system. We stay abreast of these matters and when possible, participate in them. Hopefully, these changes will help us represent our clients in achieving as favorable results as possible.