United States v. Crooks, 997 F.3d 1273 (10th Cir. May 18, 2021)

Crooks was convicted of possessing 567 grams of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, which resulted in a 360 month-to-life prison term based, in part, on a career criminal enhancement and the offense level associated with possessing 50 grams or more of crack. The district court denied his petition under the First Step Act to reduce his sentence to time served, which was 260 months, finding that Crooks was ineligible for a reduction, and even if he was eligible, reduction was not warranted due to Crooks’ designation as a career offender. In a case of first impression in this circuit, the Tenth Circuit reversed holding that for purposes of Section 404(a) of the First Step Act “a defendant’s federal offense of conviction, not his underlying conduct, determines First Step Act eligibility,” which is the same outcome as every other circuit that has addressed the issue. Because “[t]he First Sentencing Act increased the threshold quantity of crack cocaine…from 50 to 280 grams or more,” Crooks was eligible for review.