I posted earlier this spring on the Seventh Circuit’s decision in United States v. Fisher (No. 10-2352), which held that the Fair Sentencing Act’s higher quantity thresholds for mandatory minimums does not apply to defendants whose conduct occurred before August 3, 2010, but who were sentenced after that date. Recognizing that the holding created arbitrary distinctions, the court renamed the FSA the “Not Quite as Fair as It Could Be Sentencing Act.” In any event, the retroactivity question in Fisher is an important one that has divided district judges. Because Fisher marked the first pronouncement by any circuit court on the question, the case has deservedly attracted much attention.
Now I see that the Seventh Circuit denied rehearing and rehearing en banc earlier this week. Judges Williams and Hamilton dissented. Their opinion presents a good case for giving the FSA’s benefits to all defendants sentenced after August 3. I hope that other circuits will pay close attention to their reasoning as they take up this important question.