United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RONNIE GREER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
criminal case is before the Court on the defendant's
motions for a reduction of sentence, [Docs. 536, 547]. The
defendant requests a reduction in sentence pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 as
amended by Amendments 780 and 782 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.
550]. The defendant also filed a motion for the Court to
resolve the pending motions for sentence reduction. [Doc.
583]. The motion for resolution, [Doc. 583], is GRANTED. The
motions for sentence reduction, [Doc. 536, 547], will be
GRANTED IN PART.
defendant was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to
manufacture at least 5 grams but less than 50 grams of
methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(B).
The defendant was held accountable for 51 grams of
pseudoephedrine, equating to a marijuana equivalent of 510
kilograms of marijuana. This resulted in a base offense level
of 28. The base offense level was decreased by three levels
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(a) & (b) (acceptance of
responsibility), resulting in a total offense level of 25.
The defendant's criminal history category was V,
resulting in an advisory guideline range of 100 months to 125
months. The United States filed a motion for downward
departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1, which the Court
granted and sentenced the defendant to 94 months'
imprisonment, a 6-percent reduction from the bottom of the
defendant's guideline range.
courts are forbidden, as a general matter, to modify a term
of imprisonment once it has been imposed, but the rule of
finality is subject to a few narrow exceptions.”
Freeman v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2685, 2690
(2011) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Title
18 United States Code § 3582(c)(2), however, gives a
district court authority to modify a term of imprisonment
that has been imposed on a defendant “who has been
sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing
range that has been subsequently lowered by the Sentencing
Commission, ” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c), through a
retroactively applicable amendment such as Amendment 782.
Id.; U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10. The Court may reduce
the term, “after considering the factors set forth in
§ 3553(a) to the extent they are applicable, if such a
reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements
issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2). Section 1B1.10 identifies the guideline
amendments that may be applied retroactively, and sets out
the factors for deciding a sentence reduction motion under
§ 3582(c). The Supreme Court has made clear that §
3582 does not require a sentencing or resentencing
proceeding, but gives courts the power to reduce an otherwise
final sentence under circumstances established by the
Sentencing Commission. Dillon v. United States, 560
U.S. 817 (2010); United States v. Curry, 606 F.3d
323, 330 (6th Cir. 2010); U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10,
cmt. background (noting that a reduction under § 1B1.10
is discretionary and “does not entitle a defendant to a
reduced term of imprisonment as a matter of right”).
3582(c)(2) establishes a two-step inquiry: First, the court
must determine whether the defendant is eligible for a
sentence reduction. If he is, the court must then consider
whether, in its discretion, the authorized reduction is
warranted in whole or in part under the circumstances.
Dillon, 130 S.Ct. at 2691-92; United States v.
Greenwood, 521 Fed. App'x 544, 547 (6th
Cir. 2013). In exercising its discretion, the court is
required to consider public safety factors and is permitted
to consider post-sentencing conduct in deciding whether a
reduction in the defendant's term of imprisonment is
warranted. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10, cmt. (n. 1(B)(ii)-(iii)).
Thus, the district court is required to consider both the
§ 3553(a) factors and “the nature and seriousness
of the danger to any person or the community that may be
posed by a reduction in defendant's term of
imprisonment.” Curry, 606 F.3d at 330 (quoting
U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10, cmt. n. 1(B)(ii)).
other factor is relevant to the instant motion. Ordinarily, a
defendant's sentence may not be reduced to a term
“less than the minimum of the amended guideline
range.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(2)(A). But where, as
here, the defendant previously received a below-guideline
sentence “pursuant to a government motion to reflect
the defendant's substantial assistance to authorities,
” the Court has authority to grant a reduction
“comparably less than the amended guideline
range.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(2)(B). It is
perfectly logical that the extent of the reduction should be
determined based on the extent of assistance.
on the U.S.S.G. amendments, the defendant's amended base
offense level is 26. This base offense level is decreased by
three levels pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(a) & (b)
(acceptance of responsibility), resulting in an amended total
offense level of 23. An offense level of 23 combined with a
criminal history category of V results in an amended
guideline range of 84 to 105 months' imprisonment. The
defendant requests an amended sentence of 79 months,
6-percent below the bottom of the amended guideline range.
Court agrees with the defendant's calculations under the
Amendments. However, the Court also must consider the
defendant's post-sentencing conduct. Especially
concerning are the defendant's three disciplinary
sanctions that occurred in January and July of 2015 while the
defendant's motion for sentence reduction was pending.
The defendant was sanctioned for fighting, exchanging money
for unspecified contraband, and giving or accepting money
without authorization. Additionally, the Court notes that the
defendant's enrollment in the Non-Residential Drug
Treatment Program was discontinued and that the defendant
either failed or withdrew from the Residential Drug Treatment
Program. This is particularly concerning given that the
defendant is incarcerated for participating in a drug
conspiracy, reported a serious substance abuse problem, and
indicated at the time of sentencing a desire to participate
in these programs. The defendant's disciplinary sanctions
and failure to participate in the drug programs indicate that
the defendant is not taking needed steps to prepare for
release. However, the Court will in ...