WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday told the U.S. Supreme Court that it thinks low-level crack cocaine offenders should be among the beneficiaries of a federal law that reduced certain prison sentences, reversing the position taken under his predecessor Donald Trump.
Although Trump signed the 2018 law known as the First Step Act, his administration had concluded that possession of a small amount of crack cocaine was not a “covered offense” under the statute, which included various criminal justice reforms.
Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in a letter to the Supreme Court that the Justice Department now believes that the defendant who appealed his case to the justices, Tarahrick Terry, is eligible for a lesser sentence.
Terry, now 33, pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to one count of possession with intent to distribute 3.9 grams of crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 15-1/2 years in prison. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against Terry.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on April 20.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)