Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, September 05, 2008

Moore: Career Offenders Not Eligible for Crack Amendment Reduction

In U.S. v. Moore, No. 08-11230 (Sept. 5, 2008), the Court ruled that career offenders are not eligible for a sentence reduction under the recent retroactive amendment to the crack quantity Guideline.
The Court noted that 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) only authorizes a sentence reduction if a defendant’s sentence is "based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered." The Court ruled that this "plain language" made career offenders ineligible for a crack amendment sentence reduction. The Court explained that career offenders sentences are "based on the guideline ranges applied to career offenders under § 4B1.1." Thus the crack quantity amendments, which affected § 2D1.1, "played no role" in the calculation of career offender sentences. The Court noted that USSG § 1B1.1 "further support[ed]" this interpretation, because it provided that a retroactive amendment does not apply when it does not have the effect of lowering the a defendant’s sentence. The Court distinguished other cases in which career offenders did get the benefit of the retroactive amendment, noting that the original sentences in these cases were not based on the career offender guidelines. [Note: In relying on USSG § 1B1.1, the Court did not address whether the Guidelines are advisory in § 3582(c)(2) proceedings].