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United States v. IVY

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

February 10, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTY LYNN IVY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS A. VARLAN CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This criminal case is before the Court on the defendant's motion for a sentence reduction [Doc. 1637]. In the defendant's motion, the defendant requests that the Court resentence him pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and in accordance with Amendment 782 and Amendment 788 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual. The government has responded [Doc. 1652], deferring to the Court's discretion as to whether, and to what extent, to grant any such reduction, subject to the limitations of 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and section 1B1.10 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual.

         I. Standard of Review

         “Federal 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. 3685, 2690 (2011) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). One exception is identified in 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2):

[I]n the case of a defendant who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission . . ., the court may reduce the term of imprisonment, after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

         The United States Supreme Court has interpreted § 3582(c)(2) as setting forth two requirements for a sentence reduction. First, “the defendant [must] ha[ve] been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission[.]” United States v. Riley, 726 F.3d 756, 758 (6th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Second, “such reduction [must be] consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). If the reviewing court determines that the defendant is eligible for a sentence reduction, then “[t]he court may then ‘consider whether the authorized reduction is warranted, either in whole or in part, according to the factors set forth in § 3553(a).'” United States v. Thompson, 714 F.3d 946, 949 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826 (2010)).

         In determining whether a defendant has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission, the Court must first determine “the amended guideline range that would have been applicable to the defendant had the relevant amendment been in effect at the time of the initial sentencing.” Dillon, 560 U.S. at 827 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see also U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.10(b)(1). Other than substituting Amendment 782 for the corresponding provision applicable when the defendant was originally sentenced, the Court “shall leave all other guideline application decisions unaffected.” Id. And the Court “shall not” reduce a defendant's term of imprisonment to a term “less than the minimum of the amended guideline range, ” nor to a term “less than the term of imprisonment the defendant has already served.” Id. § 1B1.10(b)(2)(A), (C).[1] In addition to these limits, section 1B1.10 states that a court must also consider the § 3553 factors and the danger to the public created by any reduction in a defendant's sentence. Id. at cmt. n.1(B). A court may further consider a defendant's post-sentencing conduct. Id.

         II. Analysis

         Amendment 782 to the Guidelines, which became effective on November 1, 2014, revised the Guidelines applicable to drug-trafficking offenses by reducing by two levels the offense levels assigned to the drug quantities described in section 2D1.1. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual App. C, amend. 782. Amendment 782 also makes corresponding changes to section 2D1.11. Amendment 788, which became effective on November 1, 2014, as well, identified Amendment 782 as retroactive. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual App. C, amend. 788.

         Section 1B1.10 of the Sentencing Guidelines addresses reductions under § 3582(c)(2):

In determining whether, and to what extent, a reduction in the defendant's term of imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and this policy statement is warranted, the court shall determine the amended guideline range that would have been applicable to the defendant if the amendment(s) to the guidelines listed in subsection (d) had been in effect at the time the defendant was sentenced.

         U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.10(b). Amendment 782 is listed in subsection (d). Id. § 1B1.10(d).

         A defendant's amended guidelines range is calculated by using the procedures set forth in section 1B1.1(a). Id. § 1B1.10 cmt. n.1(A); United States v. Joiner, 727 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 2013). Accordingly, in calculating a defendant's amended guidelines range, the reviewing court ordinarily must first substitute the revised base offense level provided by Amendment 782 and then apply the trumping provisions of sections 5G1.1 and 5G1.2 as appropriate. See Joiner, 727 F.3d at 605 (discussing the procedure for calculating a defendant's amended guideline range in light of the revised base offense levels for crack cocaine offenses provided by Amendment 750).

         Section 5G1.1 provides, in relevant part, that “[w]here the statutorily required minimum sentence is greater than the maximum of the applicable guideline range, the statutorily required minimum sentence shall be the guideline sentence.” U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 5G1.1(b). Section 5G1.2 provides, in relevant part, that “the sentence to be imposed on a count for which the statute (1) specifies a term of imprisonment to be imposed; and (2) requires that such term of imprisonment be imposed to ...


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