The Zero Point Offender Guideline Amendment: The ZIPPO IS ON FIRE!


Yes, we came up with a pithy name we are sure will catch on for the new and VERY consequential US sentencing guideline amendment which allows a 2-level reduction for those with zero criminal history points and who aren’t excluded based on several listed criterion.  

This amendment is a BIG DEAL, and will be retroactive, potentially impacting thousands of inmates in the BOP, and countless clients currently facting sentencing in federal court. 

But, some of the language is ambiguious and you must arm yourself with the right legal ammunition and also remember to preserve the issue for appeal.  To that end, bear with as, as we go waaay into the legal weeds by engaging in a mind-numbing conversation about whether “and” really means “and” as it appears in criterion 10 (leader/organizer exclusion) of the new  “ZIPPO” guideline exclusion provisions. 

Necessary as this is, it’s exactly the kind of mental masturbation that gives me flashbacks to LSATs and law school final exams and makes me wanna throw up in my mouth.

So, to compensate, I barfed up a dumb song about the whole thing.  If you make it past the end credits, you’ll hear my debut musical performance on this podcast.  As Maximus Decimus Meridius famously says, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???!!!”.

Yes, this might be the moment where you say Set For Sentencing officially jumped the shark.  I can live with that.


  • Overview of the “ZIPPO”, or ZERO POINT OFFENDER guideline amendment;
  • Retroactivity means over 7000 people in BOP will likely be given sentencing reductions;
  • The sticky wicket that is Criterion 10 – does “and” mean “and” or does “and” mean “or”?
  • How you can take advantage of this amendment before it inevitably passes on 11/1/23;
  • The Pulsifer case pending at the supreme court may resolve the criterion 10 dilemma (whether and means or);
  • Do not forget to preserve these issues at sentencing;
  • Even if your court finds “and” means “or” – you can still argue for a variance;
  • DO NOT WAIT until 11/1 to ask for these 2 levels off or, consider asking for a continuance until the amendment goes into effect;
  • Doug’s dumb ZIPPO song.



We did a general podcast on all of the major new guideline amendments.  We zeroed in on the ZIPPO here b/c it’s so important, but if you want a broader view, check out this ep:


Check out this episode!

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