United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Jordan, United States District Judge
judgment entered March 15, 1994, this Court sentenced the
defendant to a net term of life imprisonment after a jury
found the defendant guilty on 12 counts of the indictment.
The life sentence was statutorily mandated for the conviction
on Count Two, conspiring to distribute powder cocaine.
before the Court is the defendant's “Motion for
Sentence Reduction Pursuant to the First Step Act of
2018.” [Doc. 1154]. Through counsel, the defendant asks
the Court to reduce his sentence pursuant to United
States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), and the First
Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194, which
retroactively applies certain provisions of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372.
Counsel electronically submitted the motion using a filing
code which indicated that the defendant is “eligible
for immediate release.”
United States has responded in opposition to the motion [doc.
1155] and the defendant has submitted a reply [doc. 1156].
For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.
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 such
exception is 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B), which provides
that “the court may modify an imposed term of
imprisonment to the extent otherwise expressly permitted by
statute . . . .” The First Step Act, which was enacted
on December 21, 2018, expressly permits sentence modification
for some defendants.
404 of the First Step Act
404(b) of the First Step Act instructs that the “court
that imposed a sentence for a covered offense may, on motion
of the defendant . . ., impose a reduced sentence as if
sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 . . .
were in effect at the time the covered offense was
committed.” A “covered offense” is “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 . . ., that was committed before
August 3, 2010.” First Step Act, § 404(a).
2 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 modified the statutory
penalties for certain cocaine base offenses. Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372.
Section 3 of that act eliminated enhanced mandatory minimum
sentences for simple possession of cocaine base.
Pursuant to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Mark Andrews
would have faced a reduced sentence had it been in effect at
the time. His conviction and sentence were for a violation of
an offense covered by Section … 404 of the First
Step Act. If Section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 had
been in effect at the time of Mark Andrews's sentencing,
he would not have been subject to a minimum mandatory life
sentence and qualifies for a reduction in his sentence.
[Doc. 1154, ¶ 13]. The defendant is simply incorrect.
the First Step Act offers the possibility of a reduced
sentence for persons sentenced prior to the enactment of the
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 who were convicted of a
“covered offense, ” that being a cocaine
base offense affected by section 2 or 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act. The instant defendant was ...