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. King

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

May 7, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTONIO KING

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          J. RONNIE GREER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This criminal matter is before the Court to address the defendant's March 25, 2019 Motion for Imposition of a Reduced Sentence Pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act. [Doc. 355]. The government responded, [Doc. 358], deferring to the Court's discretion whether and to what extent to grant any such reduction. The matter is now ripe for review.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In October 2007, the defendant pled guilty to Count Two of the superseding indictment charging a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and 846, conspiracy to distribute, and possession with the intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack). [See Docs. 188, 295]. At the April 14, 2008 sentencing, the Court found that the offense involved 182.7 grams of crack cocaine. [Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) ¶ 10]. Because the defendant had two prior federal drug convictions, he faced an enhanced statutory penalty of a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment. [PSR ¶¶ 14, 26; Doc. 140].

         After a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, the defendant's total offense level was 34 and his criminal history category was VI. [PSR ¶ 28]. This yielded an advisory sentencing guideline range of 262 to 360 months' imprisonment, but restricted by the enhanced mandatory minimum of life imprisonment. [Id. at ¶¶ 41-42; 53-54]; See U.S.S.G. 4B1.1(b).

         The government moved for downward departure based on defendant's substantial assistance, [Doc. 295], the Court granted the government's motion and imposed 292 months' imprisonment and a ten-year term of supervised release following his release. [Doc. 295]. According to the parties, defendant has now served roughly 145 months in custody on his sentence.

         II. ANALYSIS

         On August 3, 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-220, went into effect. Section 2 of the Act increased the quantity of cocaine base required to trigger the enhanced penalties of Section 841. Specifically, it raised the (b)(1)(A) threshold from “50 grams” to “280 grams” and the (b)(1)(B) threshold from “5 grams” to “28 grams.” Section 3 eliminated the mandatory minimum for simple possession of cocaine base under 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). Congress did not apply these changes retroactively to defendants sentenced before the Act's passage. Accordingly, the defendant could not obtain relief under the Fair Sentencing Act.

         On December 21, 2018, the President signed the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-391, into law. Section 404 of the Act gives retroactive effect to the changes made by Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Section 404(a) defines a “covered offense” as “a violation of a Federal criminal statute, the statutory penalties for which were modified by section 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372), that was committed before August 3, 2010.” Section 404(b) then provides that “[a] court that imposed a sentence for a covered offense may . . . impose a reduced sentence as if Section 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at the time the covered offense was committed.”

         The defendant is eligible for relief under the First Step Act because he was convicted of a “covered offense” under Section 404(a)'s definition. His offense was committed before August 3, 2010; he was subject to the enhanced statutory penalties under § 841(b)(1)(B); and those statutory penalties were “modified by Section 2 . . . of the Fair Sentencing Act.” Because the defendant is eligible for relief, this Court has the discretion under 404(b) to “to impose a reduced sentence” in accordance with § 841(b)(1)(C)'s statutory penalties, which provide no mandatory minimum term of incarceration and a thirty-year maximum term.

         Applying the Sentencing Guidelines as they existed at the time of the Defendant's sentencing, but modifying any calculation of the offense level as though Section 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 were in effect at the time the defendant committed the offense, defendant's total offense level would remain at 37 minus three levels for acceptance of responsibility. See U.S.S.G. 4B1.1(b). However, based thereon, defendant's guideline range remains from 262 to 360 months, calculated as life imprisonment but without the mandatory minimum life sentence as approximated as 360 months. See U.S.S.G. § 5A (sentencing table for an offense level 34 and criminal history category of VI). This Court previously sentenced the defendant to 292 months, at the lower end of his guidelines range. To this date, the Court has been advised that defendant has served 145 months of imprisonment and has a projected release date of September 17, 2028.

         The defendant's sentence has not been previously reduced by the operation of Sections 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, and no previous motion has been made by the defendant pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018. See [Doc. 327].

         For all these reasons, the Court concludes that the defendant is eligible for relief in the form of a reduced sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 and 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B) (permitting the court to modify a sentence “to the extent otherwise expressly permitted by statute”).

         Next, the Court must determine, in its discretion, whether the defendant is deserving of such a reduction. Defendant argues a sentence of 213 months is appropriate, as it reflects an 18.89 percent reduction of his new guideline range of 262 to 327 months. [Doc. 355]. Defendant maintains an 18.89 percent reduction is appropriate as he ...


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.