In analyzing these four methods, this Comment argues that Method IV best serves fundamental fairness in sentencing, in congruence with the purpose of the First Step Act. To resolve its arbitrary implementation, section 404 must be amended to require a full plenary resentencing in accordance with all updated sentencing guidelines and caselaw in effect at the time of the resentencing. This was the approach taken by the court in resentencing Mr. Rhines to time served. While the Supreme Court could rule Method IV is the correct interpretation of the statute, Congress is the more appropriate actor and should capitalize on the present appetite for reform to amend the law to accomplish its intent.
Part I of this Comment introduces the First Step Act, the goals of Congress in implementing it, the historical context from which it emerged, and the four methods by which it is being implemented. Part II analyzes and evaluates Methods I–IV, arguing that Method IV uniquely fulfills the goals of Congress. Part III proposes an amendment to section 404 which would remove ambiguity and require courts to resentence according to Method IV. Lastly, this Comment concludes with a summary of its argument and a call for change.
Daniel P. Peyton,
Retroactive Justice: Toward Fundamental Fairness in Resentencing Crack Cocaine Offenders under Section 404 of the First Step Act,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol54/iss4/8