United States District Court, W.D. Virginia
MICHAEL F. URBANSKI CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rodney J. Brown filed an emergency motion to reduce his
sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No.
115-015. He asks that his sentence be reduced to from 240
months to 120 months which will result in his immediate
release. ECF No. 42. The government does not contest that
Brown is eligible for consideration of a reduction in his
sentence and agrees that he is entitled to immediate release
to be followed by eight years of supervised release. ECF No.
44. Neither party requested a hearing. For the reasons set
forth below, the court will GRANT
Brown's request and modify his sentence to 120 months,
but not less than time served, to be followed by an
eight-year term of supervised release.
April 17, 2002 Brown was indicted and charged with one count
of distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
841(b)(1)(A) (Count 1); being a felon in possession of a
firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1) (Count 2);
and possession of a stolen firearm in violation of §
9220 (Count 3). In addition, the government filed an
Information to establish the defendant's prior
convictions pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A)
and 851. On September 16, 2002, a jury found Brown guilty on
Count 1 and not guilty on Count 2. Count 3 was dismissed on
motion of the government.
to the PSR, Brown was held accountable for approximately 57.6
grams of cocaine base. ECF No. 40 at 4. Brown was found to
have a total offense level of 34 and a criminal history
category IV, resulting in a guideline range of 210 to 262
months. He also was subject to a statutory minimum sentence
of 20 years because of his prior convictions. IcL at 17; 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(A). On December 2, 2002, Brown was
sentenced under the then-mandatory sentencing guidelines to
240 months imprisonment and a ten-year period of supervised
release. Brown filed motions for reduction of his sentence
under retroactive guideline amendments 706 and 750, which
were part of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Both motions
were denied because Brown was serving the mandatory minimum
sentence. ECF Nos. 28, 29, 33, 36.
has served approximately 202 months and his projected release
date is December 28, 2019. ECF No. 41 at 3.
time Brown was sentenced, a violation of § 841(b)(1)(A)
carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a
maximum of life imprisonment if the offense involved more
than 50 grams of cocaine base, and a penalty range of 5 to 40
years if the offense involved more than 5 grams of cocaine
base. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) and (B) (2006). In
addition, Brown was subject to a mandatory minimum of 20
years and a maximum of life imprisonment because he had at
least one prior felony drug conviction.
2010, the Fair Sentencing Act was passed, and Section 2 of
the act reduced 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). Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220,
§ 2, 124 Stat. 2372 (2010). Currently, in order to
trigger the 10-years-to-life-sentencing range, the offense
must involve more than 280 grams of cocaine base, and to
trigger the 5-to-40-year sentencing range, the offense must
involve more than 28 grams of cocaine base.
First Step Act was enacted on December 21, 2018. Section 404
of the act permits a court, upon motion of the defendant or
the government, or upon its own motion, to impose a reduced
sentence for certain offenses in accordance with the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010, if such a reduction was not
previously granted. Offenses qualify for the reduction if
they were committed before August 3, 2010 and carry the
statutory penalties which were modified by section 2 or 3 of
the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. First Step Act of 2018, Pub.
L. No. 115-015, 132 Stat. 015(2018).
parties agree that the First Step Act applies to Brown.
Because he was charged with more than 50 grams of cocaine
base but less than 280 grams, today he would be sentenced
under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). Based on drug weight of
57.6 grams of cocaine base, his base offense level is 24 and
his new total offense level is 26. Coupled with his criminal
history category of IV, his new applicable guideline range 92
to 115 months. See ECF No. 41 and USSG § 2Dl.l(c)(8) and
Ch.5, Pt. A.
because of his prior conviction, his mandatory minimum
sentence would be 10 years followed by an 8-year term of
supervised release and die maximum would be life.
Id. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)
(2018). Because Brown has served approximately 202 months,
the parties agree that an appropriate modified sentence is
120 months, but not less dian time served, to be followed by
an 8-year term of supervised release. Brown has not
previously moved for a reduced sentence pursuant to the First
Step Act of 2018 and has not previously had his sentence
reduced as if the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 applied in his
court will GRANT Brown's emergency motion to reduce his
sentence, ECF No. 42, and modify his sentence to a total
period of 120 mondis, but not less man time served, to be
followed by an 8-year term of supervised release. The court
finds the sentence agreed to by the parties is sufficient,
but not greater than necessary, and accounts for the
sentencing factors the court must consider ...