Courthouse Steps Oral Argument Teleforum: Terry v. United States

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Thirteen years ago, Tarahrick Terry was charged with possession with intent to distribute 3.9 grams of cocaine base otherwise known as crack cocaine.  He pled guilty and was sentenced under 21 U.S.C. 842(b)(1)(C) which set a range of 0-30 years.  Terry received a sixteen-year term of imprisonment followed by six months of supervised release. 

Congress passed comprehensive criminal justice reform twice in the years following: the Fair Sentencing Act (2010) and the First Step Act (2018) which modified the application of the Fair Sentencing Act.  Terry appealed his sentence, arguing his offense was a “covered offense” under Section 404 of the First Step Act.  The district court denied relief and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

On May 4, 2021, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument taking up the question whether Terry’s offense was a “covered offense” under Section 404 under the First Step Act and whether he is entitled to relief.


Vikrant Reddy, Senior Research Fellow, Charles Koch Institute 


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