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
motion for a reduction of sentence, [Doc. 426]. The defendant
requests a reduction in sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2) and USSG § 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. 428]. The motion for sentence
reduction, [Doc. 426], is GRANTED IN PART.
defendant was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to
distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 500
grams or more of cocaine, 50 kilograms or more of marijuana,
and a quantity of oxycodone in violation of 21 United States
Code §§ 846, 841(b)(1)(B), 841(b)(1)(C). The
defendant was also convicted of participating in a conspiracy
to conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction
affecting interstate commerce in violation of 18 United
States Code § 1956(h). The defendant was held
accountable for the equivalent of 694 kilograms of marijuana,
resulting in a base offense level of 30. The base offense
level was increased by two levels because the defendant was
convicted pursuant to § 1956 and then decreased by three
levels pursuant to USSG § 3E1.1(a) & (b) (acceptance
of responsibility), resulting in a total offense level of 29.
The defendant's criminal history category was VI,
resulting in an advisory guideline range of 151 months to 181
months. The United States filed a motion for downward
departure pursuant to USSG § 5K1.1, which the Court
granted, and the defendant was sentenced to 144 months'
imprisonment, a 5-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.; USSG § 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); USSG § 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. USSG § 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
USSG § 1B1.10, cmt. n. 1(B)(ii)).
defendant requests an amended sentence of 120 months. The
defendant argues that his amended guideline range is 120
months to 150 months based on an amended total offense level
of 26 and a criminal history category of VI. However, it
appears that the defendant is mistaken regarding his 5K
motion for substantial assistance. While the Court may have
granted the 5K motions in term of reducing the range by
“one-level” at sentencing, the reduction in the
retroactive amendment reductions are calculated based on the
percentage difference from the bottom of the original
guideline range to the original imposed sentence. The
defendant received a five-percent reduction from the bottom
of his original guideline range of 151 to 188 months,
resulting in a sentence of 144 months' imprisonment.
based on the USSG amendments, the defendant's amended
base offense level is 28. This base offense level is
increased by two levels based on the defendant's §
1956 conviction and decreased by three levels pursuant to
USSG § 3E1.1(a) & (b) (acceptance of
responsibility), resulting in an amended total offense level
of 27. An offense level of 27 combined with a criminal
history category of VI results in an amended guideline range
of 130 to 162 months' imprisonment. A ...