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    • Brief

    United States v. Vaughn, No. 4:00CR126-CVE, ECF 1282 (N.D. Okla. July 1, 2021)

    Motion and Memorandum (July 1, 2021)

    Order (July 9, 2021)


    Argument: Mr. Vaughn had been convicted of a federal drug conspiracy for working as a “middle man” for several months in a cocaine and marijuana drug conspiracy.  After turning down a 10-year plea offer, he was convicted at trial and sentenced to mandatory life based on two § 851 prior convictions.  Jason argued that one of Mr. Vaughn’s § 851 priors would not qualify today and, regardless, the most serious mandatory minimum he could face today would be 25 years.  Jason also noted that, due to changes in the law, Mr. Vaughn could not be sentenced as a career offender today either.  After Jason was able to get the government on board, the court agreed, reducing the client’s sentence from LIFE to 25 years.  The court found ECR existed because of:

    1) the sentence disparity created by the change to § 851 in the First Step Act;

    2) the fact that the mandatory minimum deprived the sentencing judge of any discretion (including running Mr. Vaughn’s state sentence concurrent to his federal sentence), and

    3) the disparity between Mr. Vaughn’s sentence compared to co-defendants of greater culpability. 

    To add to this heavy lift, Jason also had to navigate a complicated state/federal concurrent sentencing issue.  The government was not on board with Mr. Vaughn’s concurrent sentencing request, but Jason did a masterful job of presenting this issue to the court.  If the BOP follows the court’s recommendation, the Mr. Vaughn will be released from custody next year.

     

    • Brief

    United States v. Babb, 1:04CR190-ELH, ECF No. 274 (D. Md. June 4, 2021)

    Compassionate Release Motion (June 30, 2020)

    Government Response on Opposition (July 27, 2020)

    Reply (Aug. 31, 2020)

    Def's Supplement to Motion (Jan. 27, 2021)

    Def's Supplemental Reply (Apr. 16, 2021

    Order (June 4, 2021)


    Argument: Unusual win under both the compassionate release statute and the crack retroactivity amendment, section 404 of the First Step Act.  Mr. Babb had been serving a mandatory life sentence based on two § 851s, only one of which would still qualify today. Despite “extensive” criminal history, the court found that Mr. Babb “has continuously endeavored to improve himself and those around him.” The order also focuses on his age—at 50, “in just a few years he will be of an age by which he poses a reduced risk of recidivism.” CR granted, ECR based on “his model behavior while incarcerated, despite a seeming lack of hope that he would ever see freedom, and the changes in the sentencing landscape since 2007.” Order here, and Motion here. 

    Notably, even though the mandatory life statutory provision would no longer apply to Mr. Babb’s sentence, his guidelines remained life because they were based on the murder guideline, USSG § 2A1.1, so his guidelines remained life.  The court noted, however, that since one § 851 no longer applied, “the Court would not be compelled to sentence him to life imprisonment.” The Court then reduced his sentence to 30 years, which, notably, was not a time-served sentence.