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First Steps Of The First Step Act

  • By: Fertitta & Reynal, LLP
  • Published: January 4, 2019

Well, the First Step Act is taking effect. Matthew Charles’s case received attention in 2018, when his “erroneous” release from prison as a career offender under the retroactive crack-cocaine guideline changes and 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) led to a government appeal and the Sixth Circuit affirming reinstatement of his original 35-year sentence. He returned to prison after that decision, but now he is going home for good.

You can read about his journey here: www.slate.com

Despite affirming re-imposition of the original 35-year sentence, the Sixth Circuit recognized Charles’ extraordinary record of rehabilitation and good works and recommended he pursue an application for executive clemency. Now, the First Step Act is putting Mr. Charles back into his community to return to the volunteering and service he pursued during his ill-fated initial release. Judge Aleta Trauger, in the Middle District of Tennessee, signed an order on January 3, 2019, ordering immediate release.

Section 404 of the First Step Act broadens retroactive application of the provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. We will be watching and posting as the effects of the First Step Act make themselves felt.

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