United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge
Damon C. White filed a 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 from 120 months to 70 months,
which will result in his immediate release. ECF No. 46. The
government does not contest that White is eligible for a
reduction in his sentence and suggests that his sentence be
modified to time served, followed by a 4-year term of
supervised release. The government asks that if a reduction
in White's sentence results in his immediate release,
that the judgment be stayed for ten days to allow the Bureau
of Prisons sufficient time to process his release. ECF No.
51. Neither party requested a hearing. For the reasons set
forth below, the court will GRANT
White's request and modify his sentence to 70 months, but
not less than time served, to be followed by a 4-year term of
supervised release. The judgment will be stayed for ten days
if the Bureau of Prisons determines that White is entitled to
December 4, 2007, White entered into a plea agreement and
pleaded guilty the same day. ECF Nos. 22-24. He pleaded
guilty to one count of possession more than 50 grams of
cocaine base with the intent to distribute in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). ECF Nos. 23, 43. He agreed to be
held accountable for 50 to 150 grams of cocaine base. ECF No.
43. The statutory minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment
based on 50 grams of cocaine base were ten years and life. 21
U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) (2007). He had a base offense
level of 30, a total offense level of 27, and a criminal
history category of IV, which resulted in an advisory
guideline range, of 120 to 125 months. U.S.S.G. Ch. 5, Part
A; ECF Nos. 43, 45. On February 25, 2008, White was sentenced
to a term of 120 months imprisonment to run consecutively to
a state sentence, to be followed by a 5-year term of
supervised release. ECF Nos. 30-1, 45. White has served
approximately 100 months and his projected release date is
January 24, 2020. ECF No. 45.
time White was sentenced, a violation of § 841(a)(1)
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) (2007). In 2010,
the Fair Sentencing Act was enacted, 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 passed 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 White.
Because he was responsible for possessing 123 grams of
cocaine base, if the Fair Sentencing Act had been in effect
in 2007, White would have faced a minimum sentence of five
years and a maximum sentence of forty years. 21 U.S.C. §
841 (b)(1)(B). Under the guidelines, his base offense level
would have been 26 and his total offense level of would have
been 23. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(7); ECF No. 45.
With a criminal history category of IV, the corresponding
advisory range for offense level 23 is 70-87 months of
imprisonment. U.S.S.G. Ch. 5 Pt. A; ECF No. 45.
White been sentenced after passage of the Fair Sentencing
Act, the appropriate sentence would have been 70 months
followed by a 4-year term of supervised release. A sentence
of 70 months is the bottom of the sentencing range and
corresponds to the 120-month sentence which was the bottom of
his current sentencing range. Thus, an appropriate sentence
for White under the First Step Act would be 70 months,
followed by a 4-year term of supervised release. Because
White has served approximately 100 months, it appears that he
is entitled to immediate release.
reasons stated above, the court will GRANT
White's motion to reduce his sentence, ECF No. 46, and
modify his sentence to a total period of 70 months, but not
less man time served, to be followed by a 4-year term of
supervised release. The court finds the sentence is
sufficient, but not greater than necessary, and accounts for
the sentencing factors the court must consider pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a), specifically deterrence, protection of
the public, and respect for the law. The Bureau of Prisons is
directed to recalculate White's release date based on his
amended sentence of 70 months and release him if he has fully
served his sentence.
appropriate Order and amended judgment will be entered. If
White is entitled to immediate release, judgment will be
stayed for ten days to give the Bureau of Prisons sufficient
time to process his release.