United States v. Douglas, No. 10-2341 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 2009, defendant engaged in sales of cocaine base to an undercover agent in Maine. In January 2010 he entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a), 841(b), and 846. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372, effective August 2010, reduced the drug quantity thresholds required to trigger specific mandatory minimum sentences. On November1, 2010, the sentencing guidelines were amended. On November 8, the district court imposed a sentence of 56 months, rather than the 10-year mandatory minimum set by the pre-FSA drug statute. The First Circuit affirmed, stating that the FSA does not address retroactive application, but that it was unrealistic to suppose that Congress strongly desired to put the new quantity threshold guidelines in effect by November 1, even for crimes committed before the FSA, but balked at giving the same defendants the benefit of the new minimum sentencing guidelines.