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United States v. Lawson

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

May 26, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent,
v.
JESSICA L. LAWSON, Petitioner.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. RONNIE GREER, District Judge.

This criminal case is before the Court on the motion of defendant for a reduction of sentence, [Doc. 300]. Defendant requests a reduction in sentence pursuant to Amendments 782 and 788 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The United States has responded and acknowledges the defendant is eligible for a reduction in sentence but defers to the Court's discretion whether and to what extent to reduce defendant's sentence, [Doc. 301]. The motion will be GRANTED in part.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The defendant was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1, 000 kilograms or more of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), [Doc. 259]. She was held accountable for 1, 527 kilograms of marijuana, resulting in a base offense level of 32. The base offense level was decreased by three levels pursuant to USSG § 3E1.1 (a) & (b) (acceptance of responsibility), resulting in a total offense level of 29. The guidelines range was 108 to 135 months; however, defendant was subject to a mandatory minimum of 120 months imprisonment, making the range 120 to 135 months. The United States filed a motion for downward departure pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e) and USSG § 5K1.1. The government recommended a three-level reduction to a range of 78 to 97 months and recommended a sentence within that range. [Doc. 238]. The Court granted the motion but departed downward by four more months pursuant to section 5k2.23, imposing a 74-month sentence of imprisonment, a thirty-five percent reduction.

At the time of the entry of her guilty plea, the defendant stipulated to the following facts:

a) Through the testimony of several witnesses, including co-conspirators, the United States would demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that between December of 2007 and December of 2010, in the Eastern District of Tennessee, the defendant did knowingly, intentionally, and without authority, conspire with at least one other person to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 1, 527 kilograms of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance.
b) During the course of the conspiracy, the defendant assisted co-defendants William A. Lawson and Kenneth A. Lawson, in breaking down multi-kilogram quantities of marijuana for further distribution. The defendant and co-defendant Brock Lawson also obtained marijuana from co-defendant William A. Lawson which she then further distributed in the Eastern District of Tennessee.
c) Beginning in late 2002, co-defendants William A. Lawson and Kenneth A. Lawson began obtaining bulk quantities of marijuana from Hispanic suppliers. These deliveries continued until late 2010, a conservative average 150 pounds per month.
d) Beginning approximately in December of 2007, the defendant and co-defendant Brock Lawson assisted William Lawson and Kenneth Lawson in breaking down the bulk marijuana deliveries into smaller quantities for further distribution.
e) From December of 2007 until December of 2010, the defendant and co-defendant Brock Lawson then obtained an average of 40 pounds of marijuana per month which they further distributed within the Eastern District of Tennessee.
f) On August 12, 2009, the defendant and co-defendant Brock Lawson sold a confidential informant four ounces of marijuana at a restaurant in Colonial Heights, Tennessee. Later that same day the defendant was present at co-defendant William A. Lawson's residence, 140 Chariot Trail, Limestone, Tennessee, when the confidential informant purchased an additional three ounces of marijuana from Brock Lawson. g) On September 17, 2009, a cconfidential informant purchased three ounces of marijuana from the defendant at 140 Chariot Trail, Limestone, Tennessee.
h) On February 18, 2010, the defendant and co-defendant Brock Lawson were stopped by law enforcement agents in Kingsport, Tennessee. In the vehicle, officers found approximately 120 grams of marijuana.
i) On March 27, 2010, in an intercepted telephone call, the defendant spoke with codefendant William Lawson. During the conversation, the defendant asked William Lawson if he had "a whole one." The defendant said that Brock Lawson wanted a whole one, and William Lawson said he had "a half." The defendant said that she and Brock Lawson would come by and get the half. The defendant admits that she and Brock Lawson picked up a half of a pound of marijuana from William Lawson for further distribution.
j) The defendant admits that during her involvement in the conspiracy, from December of 2007 until December of 2010, she is responsible, including marijuana she assisted in breaking down for resale and in actual distribution, for ...

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