Bloomberg Law
Jan. 20, 2022, 11:01 AMUpdated: Jan. 20, 2022, 3:38 PM

Zip Code Decides Prison Time With Sentencing Panel Paralyzed (1)

Lydia Wheeler
Lydia Wheeler
Senior Reporter

Welcome back to Opening Argument, a column where I dive into issues dividing appeals courts and unpack complicated legal fights. On tap today? A look at the U.S. Sentencing Commission and how its inability to function is putting some people behind bars for longer based on where they live.

Thomas Guerrant got 10 years in jail for selling heroin because he had a prior marijuana possession charge in Virginia, but he would have likely gotten a lighter sentence if he lived in New York.

That’s because regional federal appeals courts disagree on what drugs are considered “controlled substances,” which ...

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