United States v. McCoy, No. 20-6821 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motions to reduce their sentences under the First Step Act and reduce their sentences to time served. In these consolidated appeals, defendants were convicted of robberies and accompanying firearms violations under 18 U.S.C. 924(c).
The court concluded that the district courts appropriately exercised the discretion conferred by Congress and cabined by the statutory requirements of 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A). The court saw no error in the district courts' reliance on the length of defendants' sentences, and the dramatic degree to which they exceed what Congress now deems appropriate, in finding "extraordinary and compelling reasons" for potential sentence reductions. In this case, the district courts took seriously the requirement that they conduct individualized inquiries, basing relief not only on the First Step Act's change to sentencing law under section 924(c) but also on such factors as defendants' relative youth at the time of their offenses, their post-sentencing conduct and rehabilitation, and the very substantial terms of imprisonment they already served. The court concluded that these individualized determinations were neither inconsistent with any "applicable" Sentencing Commission guidance nor tantamount to wholesale retroactive application of the First Step Act's amendments to section 924(c).