United States v. Augustine

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 04-03-2013
  • Case #: 12-50061
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Hurwitz for the Court; Circuit Judges Callahan and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

Defendants sentenced prior to the enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 are not eligible for a reduced sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) because the Act does not apply retroactively.

On October 10, 2007, Yale Augustine was sentenced to 121 months in custody after pleading guilty to distributing crack cocaine; the mandatory minimum sentence at that time was 120 months for his particular offense. On August 3, 2010, Congress enacted the Fair Sentencing Act (“FSA”), which lowered the mandatory minimum sentence of Augustine’s type of offense to 60 months. On December 22, 2011, Augustine filed a motion with the district court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and requested that his sentence be reduced to 70 months. The court denied his motion, stating that “the FSA did not apply retroactively.” Augustine then appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the court’s decision citing the General Savings Statute. The panel had previously held that the General Savings Statute “operates to prevent the retroactive application of an ameliorative statute like the [FSA], absent an expression of congressional intention to apply it to pre-enactment conduct.” The panel further explained that Congress did not “express in the FSA any intention that the new mandatory minimums apply to those sentenced before the effective date of the act.” AFFIRMED.

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