The Fair Sentencing Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to address unfair disparities between sentences for powder and crack cocaine. As a result of the law's passage, many people serving long sentences under the original law have sought to have their cases reopened and resentenced in accordance with the provisions of the new law. In many, but not all, cases the courts have granted a sentence reduction. Below is the data from cases in Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio (Sixth Circuit) and Georgia, Alabama, and Florida (Eleventh Circuit) concerning this activity.
The United States Sentencing Commission provides data from sentencing documents submitted by courts to the Commission. The following information is from cases in which the court considered a motion to reduce a sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for an offender convicted of an offense involving crack cocaine. The data that follows is from the complete report and I have extracted data for the Sixth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit that seems most relevant.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF APPLICATION OF RETROACTIVE CRACK COCAINE AMENDMENT BY JUDICIAL CIRCUIT.
SIXTH CIRCUIT: Number of applicants 2,063; number granted 1,455; number denied 608.
ELEVENTH CIRCUIT: Number of applicants 4,343, number granted 2,381, number denied 1,962.
DEGREE OF DECREASE IN SENTENCE DUE TO RETROACTIVE APPLICATION OF CRACK COCAINE AMENDMENT.
SIXTH CIRCUIT: 129 m (prev. sent.) 108 m (current sent.) 21 m (decrease)
ELEVENTH CIRCUIT: 167 m (prev. sent.) 137 m (current sent.) 30 m (decrease)
In cases where the court denied a motion to reduce a sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for an offender convicted of an offense involving crack cocaine, the three top reasons given were: (1) Career Offender or Armed Career Criminal provisions control sentence, (2) Statutory mandatory minimum controls sentence, and (3) Case involved more than 4.5 kg of crack cocaine.