United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
Jennifer R. Bockhorst, Assistant United States Attorney,
Abingdon, Virginia, for United States; Brian J. Beck,
Assistant Federal Public Defender, Abingdon, Virginia, for
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge.
defendant has filed motions in these two cases seeking to
reduce his sentences pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018
(2018 FSA), Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 404, 132 Stat. 5194,
5220, which made retroactive certain provisions of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 (2010 FSA), Pub. L. No. 111-220,
§ 2, 124 Stat. 2372, 2372.
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 at least 28 grams of cocaine
base, rather than five 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).
before and after the 2018 FSA, if the government gives
appropriate notice prior to sentencing pursuant to 21 U.S.C.
§ 851, and the defendant is found to have been
previously convicted of one or more certain types of drug
crimes, the minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment and
minimum terms of supervised release are increased. 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(b)(1)(A), (B).
defendant may be eligible for reduction in sentence, the 2018
FSA provides that the court is not required to reduce any
sentence, id. at § 404(c). Accordingly, 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. Cf. Dillon v.
United States, 560 U.S. 817, 827 (2010) (setting forth
procedures for modifying sentences under retroactive
guideline amendments). If eligible, a plenary resentencing is
not appropriate, since the statute only authorizes the court
to impose a “reduced sentence.” 2018 FSA §
Bryant Kelly Pride was indicted in this court in case number
1:07CR00020 on March 22, 2007, and charged in one count with
possessing with the intent to distribute and distributing 50
grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A). The United States filed an
Information pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851, which
established the defendant's prior convictions for more
than two felony drug offenses, thus subjecting him to
mandatory life imprisonment.
15, 2007, after a one-day trial, a jury found Pride guilty
and in answer to a special interrogatory with its verdict,
determined that 50 grams or more of cocaine base was
attributable to him. According to his Presentence
Investigation Report (PSR), Pride was found accountable for
approximately 69.2 grams of cocaine base. He was determined
to be a career offender, and his sentencing guideline range
was enhanced in accordance with U.S. Sentencing Commission
Guidelines Manual (USSG) § 4B1.1. He was found to have a
total offense level of 37 and a criminal history category of
VI. Due to the statutory mandatory minimum, his sentencing
guideline was life imprisonment.
October 5, 2007, Pride was sentenced to the mandatory term of
life imprisonment. In addition, a term of 10 years of
supervised release was imposed. On appeal, his conviction and
sentence were affirmed. United States v. Pride, 317
Fed.Appx. 380, 382 (4th Cir. 2009) (unpublished). A later pro
se motion to vacate the conviction and sentence made pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was denied. United States v.
Pride, No. 1:07CR00020, 2011 WL 251211 (W.D. Va. Jan.
25, 2011), appeal dismissed, 440 Fed.Appx. 184 (4th
Cir. 2011) (unpublished).
28, 2008, Pride was indicted in this court in a second case,
case number 1:08CR00024, and along with multiple
codefendants, charged with conspiring to possess with the
intent to distribute and to distribute 50 grams or more of
cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846. The United States again filed
an Information to establish the defendant's prior
convictions, subjecting him to mandatory life imprisonment if
October 6, 2008, Pride pleaded guilty pursuant to a written
Plea Agreement. The parties agreed that the government would
dismiss all but one conviction under the § 851
Information, thus allowing him to escape another mandatory
life term but subjecting him to a mandatory minimum of 20
years imprisonment and a maximum of life, as well as a
10-year term of supervised release. The parties also
stipulated that the defendant was a career offender and that
he should be subjected to a four-level enhancement as an
organizer or leader in accordance with USSG § 3B1.1.
According to the PSR, Pride was held accountable for at least
4.5 kilograms of cocaine base which, because it was higher
than his career offender offense level, was used to ...