On April 17, 2012 the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States. Both cases involve the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA), which dramatically increased the quantities of crack cocaine that must be involved in various drug trafficking offenses before certain mandatory minimum penalties will be triggered. The question in Dorsey v. United States is whether the FSA applies to all defendants sentenced after its enactment, even if their crime and conviction occurred prior to its passage. The analogous question in Hill v. United States is whether the relevant date for determining the applicability of the FSA is the date of the underlying offense or the actual date of sentencing.
To discuss the cases, we have William Otis, who is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former federal prosecutor.