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Denial of Motions for Sentence Reductions Reversed

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By FindLaw Staff on February 17, 2010 4:06 PM

In US v. Munn, No. 09-7525, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit addressed a criminal defendant's challenge to the district court's denial of his motion for a reduced sentence under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2). 

In reversing the denial, the Court held that the district court misinterpreted the limits of its authority when it denied defendant's motion for a reduced sentence under section 3582(c)(2) as defendant's career offender designation does not bar a sentence reduction based on Amendment 706 if (i) the sentencing court granted an Overrepresentation Departure from the career offender guidelines range, and (ii) the court relied on the Crack guidelines in calculating the extent of the departure.

In a second case dealing with a defendant's motion for a reduction in his sentence, US v. Stewart, No. 08-6575, district court's denial of the motion was in error as a district court considering a motion to reduce a sentence, even one which is below the amended guidelines, under section 3582(c)(2) must treat the sentence the defendant is currently serving as the "original term of imprisonment. As in this case, when a defendant is serving a below-guidelines sentence as a result of a Rule 35 motion by the government, defendant's sentence may be further reduced comparably to the previous reductions received under his section 3582(c)(2) motion. 

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