Oral argument: Feb. 22, 2011
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Nov. 20, 2009)
FAIR SENTENCING ACT, SENTENCING GUIDELINES, PLEA AGREEMENTS, RETROACTIVITY
In 2005, Petitioner William Freeman was indicted on multiple charges, including the possession of crack cocaine. Freeman pled guilty to all charges and received a 106-month sentence under a plea agreement. Following Freeman's sentencing, the United States Sentencing Commission amended the Sentencing Guidelines, reducing the sentencing range for crack cocaine possession to eliminate disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), a court may alter a sentence after its imposition if the Sentencing Commission lowers the sentencing range. Both the District Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Freeman's request for a sentence reduction. The Sixth Circuit held that Freeman was ineligible for a reduction because his sentence was imposed under a plea agreement, and was not calculated under the Sentencing Guidelines. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether an individual whose sentence is imposed under a plea agreement may seek a sentence reduction following amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines.