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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.