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: This FAQ should answer most of your questions. It is lengthy. Please read the entire document! - page 2 / 6





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No one gets a sentence reduction automatically. Sentence reductions must be requested by submitting a motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) to the court that sentenced the prisoner. Generally, the motion will be submitted to the court by an attorney. The court will typically give the prosecutor a chance to oppose the sentence reduction. The court can give all, part, or none of the requested sentence reduction.

, even if they are eligible for one. Whether a person gets a sentence reduction is entirely up to the court.

The § 3582(c)(2) motion can be formal (i.e., a motion with legal arguments in its support) or informal (i.e., a letter to the court asking for a reduction), but

This means that even if courts consider motions before that date,

any sentence reductions they grant will not take effect until

November 1, 2011.

First of all, we urge patience. All federal district courts are already familiar with crack retroactivity, because they handled similar motions in 2008, when the crack minus twoamendment (see Q-12) was made retroactive. No motions for sentence reductions under the new retroactive crack amendment are likely to be granted before November 1, and many districts are working now to figure out who can benefit, by how much, and when. For legal help, prisoners or

their family members can

Federal Public Defender’s Of


information for public defenders can be found at http://www.fd.org/pdf_lib/defenderdir.pdf. If the federal public defender cannot help, the prisoner can (1) write to the court that sentenced the prisoner, and (2) ask the court to appoint an attorney to help the prisoner with the request for a sentence reduction. You can locate courts at http://www.uscourts.gov/courtlinks.

No. FAMM does not give legal advice or help. Prisoners and their families should contact the federal public defenders for help with filing their motion.

No. FAMM has not written a form motion and will not be making one available. Because every case is different and will raise unique issues, we cannot make a sample motion available that will fit everyone’s individual needs.

Sentences could be reduced by

37 months. Individual sentence reductions,

however, will vary a great deal and can be shorter or longer than 37 months, depending on the original crack cocaine sentence and how much the court decides to reduce any given prisoner’s




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