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Supreme Court of the United States




The Government concedes that the circuits are divided over whether 28 U.S.C. § 2255 limits a district court’s discretion in reviewing 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) motions. And because it cannot dispute that this issue is cleanly presented, unaffected by the Sentencing Commission’s policy statement, and exceptionally important, it instead rewrites the question presented. The Government’s effort to replace a question about the relationship (if any) between Section 3582(c)(1)(A) and Section 2255 with one about whether the district court abused its discretion should be rejected, and with it the Government’s attempt to gloss over the intractable circuit split, its misguided argument about the import of the Sentencing Commission’s amended policy statement, and its faulty merits analysis.

Ferguson is serving a 30-year sentence for something he was never convicted of. According to the Government, this serious injustice is “ordinary,” BIO 12, thus lacking the gravity of other circumstances that courts and the Sentencing Commission recognize as extraordinary-and-compelling reasons for a sentence reduction. We disagree. But the salient point is that neither the Fourth Circuit nor the district court considered whether Ferguson’s non-medical circumstances are extraordinary and compelling because they held that arguments related to legal errors are categorically excluded from consideration under Section 3582(c)(1)(A) by Section 2255. Until that issue is resolved, Ferguson and other deserving individuals seeking relief under the First Step Act will continue to be denied sentence reductions. This Court should grant review now.



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