Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Burris

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

January 12, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JASON BURRIS, 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 [No. 3:06-cr-125, Doc. 40; No. 3:07-cr-130, Doc. 17].[1] The defendant requests that the Court resentence him pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and Amendments 782 and 788 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual. The government has responded to the defendant's motion [Doc. 41]. The government defers to the Court's discretion 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 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, 564 U.S. 522, 526 (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, “[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).[2] 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. Background

         On October 15, 2007, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of crack cocaine in Case No. 3:06-cr-125 [Doc. 27; Doc. 31 p. 2]. The defendant also pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and one count of knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in Case No. 3:07-cr-130 [Doc. 31 p. 2]. At the time of sentencing, the defendant was held accountable for 1, 078.36 kilograms of marijuana equivalent [Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”) ¶ 18]. Given the amount of drugs for which the defendant was held accountable, the defendant's base offense level was 32 [Id.]. The defendant received a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual section 3E1.1, which resulted in a total offense level of 29 [Id. ¶¶ 24-25]. Given the defendant's criminal history category of IV, the defendant's advisory guideline range for his two drug offenses was 121 to 151 months' imprisonment [Id. ¶¶ 38, 68]. The defendant was also subject to a 120-month mandatory minimum sentence for the drug offense in Case No. 3:06-cr-125 [Id. ¶ 65]. Finally, the defendant was subject to a 60-month consecutive mandatory minimum sentence for his firearm offense [Id. ¶¶ 67, 69].

         On April 3, 2008, the Court sentenced the defendant to 121 months' imprisonment for each of his drug offenses, to run concurrently, and 60 months' imprisonment for his firearm offense, to run consecutively with his other two offenses [Doc. 31 p. 3]. This produced a total effective term of imprisonment of 181 months, which was within the applicable guideline ranges [Id.]. According to the government, the defendant is presently scheduled for release on March 28, 2021 [Doc. 41 p. 3]. The defendant filed the instant motion for a sentence reduction on April 3, 2017 [Doc. 40].

         III. 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.

         Applying Amendment 782, the defendant's revised base offense level is 30, and affording the defendant the same adjustments he originally received, the defendant's revised total offense level is 27. Id. § 1B1.10(b)(1). A total offense level of 27 and a criminal history category of IV results in an amended guideline range of 100 to 125 months' imprisonment for the defendant's two drug offenses. Thus, the defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission. However, because the defendant remains subject to a statutory 120-month mandatory minimum sentence for the drug offense in Case No. 3:06-cr-125 [see PSR ¶ 65], the effective amended guideline range for his drug offenses is 120 to 125 months' imprisonment.

         Next, the Court must determine whether a sentence reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.10. “[T]o satisfy the second requirement, a guidelines amendment must have had the effect of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline range.” Riley, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.