On February 19, Jenner & Block filed an amicus brief on behalf of a bipartisan group of Senators – Dick Durbin, Chuck Grassley, Cory Booker, and Mike Lee. The Amici were lead sponsors of the First Step Act of 2018. The First Step Act authorizes retroactive relief for individuals sentenced for crack-cocaine offenses before the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which eliminated the now-infamous 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powder cocaine. In Terry v. United States, the Supreme Court is considering whether the relief the First Step Act authorizes extends to individuals sentenced for low-level crack offenses.
The brief explains that, as lead sponsors of the First Step Act, the bipartisan group of Amici have a strong interest in ensuring that the Act is interpreted correctly. And the brief explains that, under the Act’s plain text, the Act makes retroactive relief broadly available to all individuals sentenced for crack-cocaine offenses before the Fair Sentencing Act, including those sentenced for low-level crack offenses.