United States v. Charles

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 04-15-2014
  • Case #: 12-50150
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Court Judge Fernandez for the Court; Circuit Court Judges Graber and Murguia
  • Full Text Opinion

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010’s provisions only apply to offenders who are sentenced after August 3, 2010 and Amendment 750 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines does not apply to those sentenced under the career offender guideline.

Deon Andre Charles is currently serving time in federal prison for multiple counts, including possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. At sentencing, Charles was held to be a career offender. He filed a motion to reduce his sentence under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”) and the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”) Amendment 750. “[T]he FSA reduced the maximum penalty for the quantity of crack cocaine under 21 U.S.C. § 841 from life imprisonment to 40 years,” which, Charles argued, should reduce his sentence. However, the FSA does not apply to Charles because he was sentenced before its effective date, August 3, 2010. As of this opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held four times that the FSA does not apply to those sentenced before its effective date because the Act makes no expression of such intent. Charles next argued that he was eligible for a sentence reduction under USSG Amendment 750, which reduced the crack cocaine offense levels set forth in USSG § 2D1.1. Again, this sentence reduction does not apply to Charles. USSG Amendment 750 makes amendments to the drug guideline, but Charles was sentenced under the career offender guideline. The panel ruled that the career offender guideline to sentencing and the drug guideline to sentencing are mutually exclusive. AFFIRMED.

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