Court says crack convict can seek shorter term

The Supreme Court says a defendant who pleaded guilty to crack cocaine possession and a specific prison term can seek a shorter sentence following a change in the federal sentencing guidelines for his crime.

The court ruled 5-4 Thursday that William Freeman can ask a federal judge to cut his sentence by nine months, to eight years. The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently moved to shrink the disparity that imposes far harsher penalties for crack crimes than those involving powder cocaine.

The issue for the court was whether the normal rule allowing a sentence reduction applied to a person whose guilty plea included a specific prison term or sentencing range.