United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
James P. Jones United States District Judge Jennifer R.
Bockhorst, Assistant United States Attorney, Abingdon,
Virginia, for United States
J. Beck, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Abingdon,
Virginia, for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
defendant has filed a motion to reduce sentence pursuant to
the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 404,
132 Stat. 5194, 5220 (2018) (“2018 FSA” or
“Act”), which made retroactive certain provisions
of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220,
§ 2, 124 Stat. 2372, 2372 (2010) (“2010
FSA”). I find the defendant eligible for relief and I
will reduce the sentence.
2 of the 2010 FSA reduced the penalties for offenses
involving cocaine base by increasing the threshold drug
quantities required to trigger mandatory minimum sentences
under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1). After the enactment of the
2010 FSA, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) must
involve at least 280 grams of cocaine base, rather than 50
grams, to trigger the 10-years-to-life penalty range of 21
U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) and 28 grams of cocaine base,
rather than 5 grams, to trigger the 5-to-40 years penalty
range of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). The 2018 FSA provides
that the court may, on motion of the defendant, the Director
of the Bureau of Prisons, the attorney for the Government, or
the court, impose a reduced sentence as if the 2010 FSA were
in effect at the time the defendant's crime was
committed. 2018 FSA § 404(b).
defendant whose crime was committed before August 3, 2010,
may be eligible for reduction in sentence, 2018 FSA §
404(a), the Act provides that the court is not required to
reduce any sentence, id. at § 404(c). Thus, the
court must first consider whether the defendant is eligible
for a reduction in sentence. Second, if the defendant is
eligible for reduction, the court must determine whether, and
to what extent, a reduction is warranted.
defendant was indicted in this court on September 14, 2000,
and charged with, among other things, conspiring to
distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams
or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846 (Count One),
and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count
Eight). The defendant pleaded guilty to Counts One and Eight
pursuant to a written plea agreement and was determined to
have a total offense level as to Count One of 29, and a
criminal history category of III, which under the U.S.
Guidelines Manual, produced a guideline range of 108 to 135
months.Because the statutory mandatory minimum for
Count One exceeded that range, the guideline range was
determined to be 120 months. The defendant was sentenced on
April 24, 2001, to the statutory mandatory minimum on Count
One of 120 months, to be followed by a statutory mandatory
minimum consecutive sentence of 120 months on Count Eight,
for a total sentence of 240 months. The defendant's
current release date is June 30, 2019.
the 2018 FSA, the new statutory sentencing range for Count
One, if applied to the defendant, would be 5 to 40 years. 21
U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). The statutory mandatory
consecutive minimum for Count Eight would remain at ten
years, since it is not affected by the 2018 FSA.
it appropriate in determining whether to reduce the
defendant's sentence, and the extent of any such
reduction, to consider the sentencing factors set forth in 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a). I have reviewed the defendant's
original Presentence Investigation Report and education and
disciplinary data while in prison, as well as the briefs
filed by counsel. I will reduce the defendant's sentence
to not less than time served, to be followed by a term of
supervised release of four years.
it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Motion to Reduce Sentence, ECF No. 299, is GRANTED;
The defendant's sentence is hereby reduced to time
served as to Count One and time served as to Count Eight,
meaning that the defendant has now fully served the
imprisonment imposed as to both counts and is to be released
from imprisonment. This imprisonment is to be followed
by a total term of supervised release of four years,
consisting of a term of four years on ...