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Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Hey there! If you or a loved one is serving time for a federal drug offense, you’ve probably heard about Amendment 821. This new law could mean shorter prison sentences for thousands of people. I know this can all be confusing, so let me break it down for you in simple terms.
First off, what does Amendment 821 actually do? Basically, it makes two big changes to how federal drug sentences get calculated:
That’s the quick overview. Now let me explain in a bit more detail…
Here’s how it works. Under the sentencing guidelines, you get “criminal history points” added for any past convictions. The more points, the higher your “criminal history category” – and the longer your sentence. Amendment 821 changes how these points get calculated for certain federal drug crimes.
Specifically, it reduces the effect of “status points.” These are extra points you can get if you committed the current offense while on probation, parole, supervised release, etc. Status points really add up quick. Just one extra point can increase your sentence by months or years.
Amendment 821 prevents low-level drug offenders from getting hit with too many status points. This will help a lot of folks who have longer records just because of minor drug possession charges.
Now, here’s the other big change. Amendment 821 gives judges more flexibility to go below the sentencing guidelines for certain nonviolent drug offenders who don’t have much criminal history.
In the past, judges could only go below the guidelines in rare cases. But now they can consider lower sentences for drug defendants who:
This opens the door for shorter sentences, especially for first-time and low-level drug offenders. No more unfairly long prison terms!
So who might be able to get their sentence reduced? Amendment 821 will help nonviolent drug offenders the most – particularly those with limited criminal histories serving long sentences for low-level drug crimes. This includes:
The Sentencing Commission estimates around 11,500 federal inmates could potentially see lower sentences under Amendment 821. Of course, meeting the requirements doesn’t guarantee a shorter sentence – judges will still have the final say. But it at least gives people a chance.
If you think you might be eligible for a reduced sentence, here are the steps:
Even if you qualify, the judge has discretion whether to lower your sentence at all. But Amendment 821 at least gives you a shot.
Definitely talk to your defense lawyer about seeking a reduction if you’re eligible. An experienced attorney can help get your sentence lowered as much as possible.
This change has been a long time coming. For years, thousands of low-level drug offenders have received extremely harsh sentences under rigid mandatory minimum laws. Amendment 821 is finally giving judges more flexibility and discretion.
This will help reduce mass incarceration and bring more fairness back into drug sentencing. Of course, violent offenders and kingpins won’t get any breaks. But a lot of minor drug offenders – many of them young people – will finally get a second chance.
Reduced sentences won’t automatically happen. But Amendment 821 offers new hope and opportunities if you or a loved one is serving federal time for a drug charge. Don’t hesitate to explore your options!
I hope this breakdown helps explain everything clearly. Let me know if you have any other questions!
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