Holding: When, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C), a defendant enters into a plea agreement that recommends a particular sentence as a condition of a guilty plea, he may be eligible for a sentence reduction if the U.S. Sentencing Commission later lowers the sentencing range.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 23, 2011. Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which is controlling. She would hold that if a plea agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C) expressly uses a Sentencing Guidelines sentencing range applicable to the charged offense to establish the term of imprisonment, and that range is subsequently lowered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the term of imprisonment is then â€˜based onâ€ the range employed and the defendant is eligible for sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Â§ 3582(c). Because the petitionerâ€™s plea agreement expressly ties the recommended range to the Guidelines sentencing range, she would allow the petitioner in this case to seek a sentence reduction. The Chief Justice filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito joined.