Rumors can get around prison fast. A current hot topic is " Holloway " relief. But there are a lot of misconceptions about what “Holloway” is and how a federal prisoner may or may not be able to use it to get a sentence reduction.In 1995 Francois Holloway was convicted of three 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) counts. These sentences were stacked, totaling some 45 years. This was on top of the 12.5 years he received for carjacking.

Then U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch, agreed to dismiss two of the 924(c) convictions which allowed the Court to refashion the sentence in the case to a total of 30 years. Holloway went home. You can read more in this opinion. United States v. Holloway, 68 F. Supp. 3d 310 (E.D.N.Y. 2014).

A few other courts have agreed to allow the Government to dismiss charges, like what happened in Holloway, to create a new, more lenient sentence for the defendant.

New York, Southern: United States v. Washington, No. 11-cr-605 (RJS) (S.D.N.Y. July 31, 2014) (Sullivan, J.)

Oklahoma, Eastern: United States v. Rivera, No. 83-00096-01-CR (E.D. Okla. Sept. 15, 2015) (Seay, J.)

Pennsylvania, Eastern: United States v. Ezell, No. 02-815-01 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 18, 2015) (DuBois, J.); United States v. Trader, No. 04-680-06, 2015 WL 4941820 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 18, 2015) (DuBois, J.).

In each instance, the Government AGREED to dismiss one or more counts, and the Court allowed the Government to do so.

The net effect of all of this is that the only way a defendant can get relief from his or her sentence this way is IF the Government goes along with it AND the court does so too. If the Government is unwilling to dismiss any of the counts in the defendant's case, or if the defendant only has one count of conviction, there can be no "Holloway" relief. Keep in mind that for all of these things to fall into place would be TRULY EXTRAORDINARY. Not to say people should not try, but they should do so with eyes wide open about the possibility of relief.

About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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