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D.C. Voluntary Sentencing GuidelinesAdvanced Training:How to score prior marijuana convictions
D.C. Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission
Disclaimer
This PowerPoint presentation is designedto give individuals an understanding of how prior marijuana convictions are treated under the Guidelines. The presentation is not intended to serve as legal advice. It does not cover every possible situation or occurrence. It is foreducationalpurposesonly.This presentationshould not be referenced, used, introduced, or quoted in any proceeding. Itmaynot be reproduced without the expressed permission of the D.C. Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission.
How to calculate a defendant’s criminal history score
This training will focus on how to score prior D.C. Superior Court and out-of-District marijuana convictions.Including:The treatment of sealed convictions.The differences between possession, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute convictions.Challenges to the initial scoring of a marijuana convictions.
What prompted the new guidelines rules?
In July 2014, the District decriminalized possessing or transferring, for no remuneration,limited amounts of marijuana.In February2015, the Districtlegalized possessing, growing, and/or transferring, for no remuneration, limited amounts ofmarijuana.
Following legalization, Questions Arose
Howare priorconvictions for possession or marijuanascored?How are prior convictions for possession with intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana and/ordistribution pf marijuana scored.
Guidelines General Rule
Original Rule 2.2.8:Aprior conviction/adjudication under a statute that was repealed so that the conduct was decriminalized is notscored.Rule 2.2.8 did not address partially repealed statutes.Marijuana offenses were only partially legalized:Possession and sharing of small amount becomes legal.Possession of more than 2oz of marijuana remains illegal.Distribution for money remains illegal.Growing more than a few marijuana plants remains illegal.1I.It is legal for people to cultivatewithin their residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which aremature.
New Marijuana scoring rule
Section2.2.8(b)now explains how to score:Prior marijuana convictions sealed underD.C. Code §16-803.02;Prior possession of marijuana convictions;PriorPWID marijuanaconvictions.Prior distribution of marijuana convictions;and
Scoring Prior Sealed Convictions
Prior Marijuana Convictions sealed under D.C. Code § 16-803.02 arenot scored.Additionally, like all other convictions, prior marijuana convictions sealed on the grounds of actual innocence are not scored.
SCORING PRIOR Possession of marijuana convictions
Prior possession of marijuana convictions are notinitiallyscored.Not scored in the initial presentence report.Prior possessionconvictions can be scored if evidence shows the conduct underlying the conviction was not decriminalized/legalized.Burden of proof on the government.Must prove behavior by preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).Court makes ultimate finding.Convictions for marijuana offenses occurring afterFebruary 2015 are scored.
Scoring prior possession with intent to distribute marijuana convictions
Prior PWID marijuana convictions are not initially scored.Not scored in the initial presentence report.PriorPWID convictionscan be scored if evidence shows the conduct underlying the convictionwas not decriminalized/legalized.Burden of proof on the government.Must prove behavior by preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).Court makes ultimate finding.Convictions for marijuana offenses occurring after February 2015 are scored.
Scoring prior Distribution of marijuana convictions
Prior distribution of marijuana convictions are initially scored.Scoredin the initial presentence report.Not scored ifevidence shows conduct underlying the conviction wasdecriminalized/legalized.Burden of proof on thedefendant.Must prove behavior by preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).Court makes ultimatefinding.
Scoring prior marijuanapdpconvictions
Possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia convictions are never scored.Maximum Punishment <90 days incarceration.
Prior out-of-District Marijuana convictions
Initially treated as similar to prior District marijuana convictions.Possession - not initially scored.PWID - not initially scored.Distribution -initially scored.PDP convictions not scored.Date of offense does not matter.Initial scoring can be challenged based on the underling facts (See Guidelines Rule 2.2.6(a)(6)).
Example One
Defendant has a prior D.C. conviction for possession of marijuana (amount was 4oz).Initially the offense is not scored.The government may introduce evidence showing weight (over 2oz).If proven by preponderance of the evidence, it can be scored.
Example Two
Prior July 2015 Maryland conviction for PWID marijuana.Offense closely matches PWID marijuana in D.C.Offense occurred in June 2015.Police report saying the defendant was caught with 7 ounces and admitted that he was planning on selling.Initiallythe offense is notscored (initial scoring based on statute, not facts).The government may introduce evidence showingconduct was not legalized.If proven by preponderance of the evidence, it can be scored.
Additional Questions
The D.C. Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission is available to answer general questions about the Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines.The Commission can be reached at:[email protected]

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sentencing in the district of Columbia The basics