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Prisoner Entitled to First Step Act Hearing

USA v. Shakara Carter Docket: 19-10411, Opinion Date: August 17, 2022. Defendant appealed a district court order granting in part and denying in part his motion to be resentenced under the First Step Act of 2018. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s order granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s motion to be resentenced under the First Step Act of 2018 and remanded. The court wrote that Concepcion v. United States, 142 S. Ct. 2389 (2022), has three holdings relevant here: (1) that the First Step Act allows district courts to consider intervening changes of law or fact in exercising their discretion to reduce a sentence; (2) that because district courts must consider nonfrivolous arguments presented by the parties, the First Step Act requires district courts to consider intervening changes when parties raise them; and (3) that district courts ruling on First Step Act motions bear the standard obligation to explain their decisions, and accordingly must give a brief statement of reasons to demonstrate that they considered the parties’ arguments— including arguments pertaining to intervening changes in law or fact. Applying Concepcion’s principles, the court held that the district court erred by granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s resentencing motion with no explanation whatsoever, where Defendant raised intervening legal and factual changes to support the sentence reduction that he requested.


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