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Sentencing Guidelines – First Step Act

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Tony Sparkman

Case No.: 17-3318

Officials: RIPPLE, BARRETT, and BRENNAN, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines – First Step Act

Section 403 of the First Step Act of 2018 amended the mandatory minimum sentence for certain firearm offenses. Sentencing reform is generally prospective, but these amendments also apply to an offense committed be‐ fore enactment “if a sentence for the offense has not been imposed as of such date of enactment.” First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115‐391, § 403(b), 132 Stat. 5194, 5222 (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 924 note). Tony Sparkman’s sentence was pending on appeal on the date of enactment, and, as he sees it, this means that he is entitled to be resentenced with the benefit of the statute’s reforms. But our circuit rejected this very argument in United States v. Pierson, which holds that “a sentence is ‘imposed’ in the district court, regardless of later appeals.” 925 F.3d 913, 927 (7th Cir. 2019).  The district court sentenced Sparkman before the statute passed, so the First Step Act does not apply to him.


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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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