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Long Sentence Upheld Despite Challenge to Guidelines Commentary

Jan. 19, 2022, 7:18 PM

A defendant’s 10-year sentence for selling half a gram of crack cocaine was upheld Wednesday by the Fourth Circuit, which said a career criminal enhancement was appropriate under the commentary to the applicable sentencing guideline.

In Stinson v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the commentary to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines is binding on courts. But in Kisor v. Wilkie, the Supreme Court recently held that an executive agency’s interpretation of its own regulation is only entitled to deference where the regulation is genuinely ambiguous.

Lenair Moses argued that under Kisor his sentencing court didn’t have ...

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