In United States v. Tinker, No. 20-14474 (Sept. 28, 2021) (Wilson, Newsom, Branch) (per curiam), the Court held that a district court does not procedurally err when it denies a request for compassionate release based on the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) sentencing factors (or U.S.S.G. 1B1.13’s policy statement) without first explicitly determining whether the defendant could present “extraordinary and compelling reasons.”

The Court noted that nothing on the face of 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A) requires a court to conduct the compassionate-release analysis in any particular order.  Therefore, nothing requires a court to first find “extraordinary and compelling reasons” for release before considering the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors or U.S.S.G. 1B1.13’s policy statement.  Under 3582(c)(1)(A), the court must find that all necessary conditions are satisfied before it grants a reduction–i.e., support in the 3553(a) factors, extraordinary and compelling reasons, and adherence to 1B1.13’s policy statement.  The absence of even one would foreclose a sentence reduction.  Therefore, a district court does not err where, as occurred  in this case, it assumes that “extraordinary and compelling reasons” exist in the 3582(c)(1)(A) context.

The Court further found no error in the district court’s analysis of the 3553(a) factors.