Joseph Garvey: Public Opinion Making Early Release Possible for Marijuana Offenses
Joseph Garvey The case of United States v. Vigneau, 473 F.Supp. 3d 31 highlights one of the ways in which the federal government is slowly accepting the change in policy around marijuana and the sentences imposed by a marijuana conviction. Issue In 1998 Mr. Vigneau was sentenced to 365 months in prison for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, attempting to possess with intent to distribute, conspiring to distribute marijuana, and conspiring to commit money laundering. The issues this case addresses are whether the Court may independently evaluate extraordinary and compelling reasons and whether those reasons exist in the case of Mr. Vigneau. Ruling Courts are generally prohibited from modifying a term of imprisonment after it has been imposed, but there are certain exceptions. One of these is, in the case of a defendant who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission, the court may reduce the term of imprisonment. The court held that the change in the statutes concerning the charges brought against Vigneau for imposition of a sentence supported his petition for compassionate release. Analysis Mr. Vigneau was originally sentenced to 365 months of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release when he was convicted in 1998. This appeal came in 2021 after Vigneau had served twenty-three years of his over thirty-year sentence. Upon reviewing his case the court looked at the minimum sentence for his offenses at the time he was convicted, the new minimum sentence under modern statutes, and the time served by those convicted with him. The Court first had to determine if it had the authority to determine whether extraordinary and compelling reasons call for compassionate release. The Court looked at the First…
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Source : Joseph Garvey: Public Opinion Making Early Release Possible for Marijuana Offenses
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