Stacked Sentences Reduced

Stacked Sentences leads to reduction.

Stacked Sentences

May 27, 2021

United States v. Foreman

United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma

2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99593

Stacked convictions coupled with rehabilitative efforts lead to reduction of sentence

In September of 2002, Time Foreman and two other co-defendants robbed the Arvest Bank in Kansas, Oklahoma. After his arrest, Foreman made several jail calls in an attempt to influence the testimony of potential witnesses in the proceedings against him. A grand jury charged Foreman with conspiracy, aiding and abetting bank robbery, attempted carjacking, and carjacking, as well as three violations arising out of the bank robbery and carjacking offenses. It also charged Foreman with witness tampering, retaliation against a witness and obstruction of justice. Foreman’s two co-defendants pleaded guilty and testified against Foreman. The jury convicted Foreman of the armed bank robbery, carjackings, violations, witness tampering, retaliation, and obstruction of justice. The district court sentenced Foreman to a total term of 894 months, including a consecutive 84-month term as to his first and two consecutive 300-month terms.

Were Foreman to have been sentenced today, his term would have been considerably shorter for the same charges, thanks to Congress’s passage of the First Step Act of 2018. This Act led to significant reforms within the criminal justice system to avoid excessively long prison sentences. Prior to the enactment of the First Step Act, there was an enhanced minimum penalty applied to any conviction after someone’s first conviction, regardless of whether the subsequent conviction was a part of the first offense. This is what happened in Foreman’s case. He received a term of 894 months, or a 74.5 year sentence, 57 years of which were mandated by his “stacked” convictions. If Foreman were sentenced based on what is now considered to be a fair and reasonable punishment, he would not have been subject to a mandatory enhancement, resulting in a 36-year discrepancy between Foreman’s current sentence and the sentence to which he would be subject if convicted today; instead of 74.5 years, Foreman would have been given a sentence of 38.5 years. At this point, Foreman has already served approximately 19 years of his 74.5 year sentence.

In the review of these cases, one of the most crucial factors is evidence of post-sentencing rehabilitation; that is to say, behavior while incarcerated and efforts taken by a prisoner toward improving him/herself. Foreman, who has taken full responsibility for his crimes, has completed many hours of classes and programs in a wide range of subjects and has been dedicated to the rehabilitation of himself and others. In fact, Foreman has taken well over 550 hours in educational courses. Among his many accomplishments over the past 18 years, Foreman has received his GED and serves as a mentor in the Mental Health Companion Skills Program. The Board of Prisons (BOP) noted that Foreman “frequently volunteers to facilitate self-help classes to inmates involving topics related to assertive communication and deterring from the criminal lifestyle,” and that “Foreman is a compassionate, caring, and pro-social individual.” The BOP noted that based on testing and mastery of concepts, Foreman’s risk of recidivism is low. Finally, it was noted that Foreman has training as a welder and carpenter.

When giving its decision, the court stated that considering Foreman’s personal rehabilitation in prison, coupled with his lack of prior felony convictions, the fact that he has no criminal history, and his good behavior during his incarceration, the disparity of sentence between his sentence and those sentenced for similar crimes after the First Step Act means that there are extraordinary and compelling circumstances which warrant a reduction of his sentence to time served.

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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