United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Lynchburg Division
K. MOON SENIOR UNTTED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Norman K. Moon Defendant Marcus Nikita Jennings
(“Defendant”) has filed a motion for reduction of
sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018. (Dkt. 91).
The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review. For
the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's
single count indictment was filed against Defendant on
February 2, 2006. (Dkt. 3). On September 2, 2008, Defendant
pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment, possession of
cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B). (Dkts. 29-31). Defendant was
determined to be a career offender, subjecting him to
enhanced penalties in accordance with U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1.
(Dkt. 94 at 12). Accordingly, Defendant's Guideline Range
was calculated to be 188 to 235 months' imprisonment.
(Dkt. 95). Defendant was ultimately sentenced to 188
months' imprisonment. His conviction was affirmed by the
Fourth Circuit on May 3, 2010. (Dkt. 51). Defendant then
filed a motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to Amendment
750, which was denied due to his career offender status.
(Dkt. 59). Defendant most recently filed this motion pursuant
to the First Step Act. (Dkt. 91).
404 of the First Step Act of 2018 permits “a court that
imposed a sentence for a covered offense” to
“impose a reduced sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of
the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124
Stat. 2372) were in effect at the time the covered offense
was committed.” Pub. L. No. 115-015, § 404, 132
Stat. 015, 015 (2018). A “covered offense” is
defined as “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 (Public Law 111-220;
124 Stat. 2372), that was committed before August 3,
of sentences under the First Step Act are governed by 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B), which states: “The court
may modify an imposed term of imprisonment to the extent
otherwise expressly permitted by statute or by Rule 35 of the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.” In determining if
modification is appropriate, the Court will first address
whether a reduction is consistent with the First Step Act,
and will then “consider whether the authorized
reduction is warranted, either in whole or in part, according
to the facts set forth in § 3553(a).” Dillon
v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826 (2010)
parties agree that Defendant's offense of conviction is a
“covered offense” as defined by the First Step
Act. The offense was committed before August 3, 2010 and the
applicable penalties were modified by section 2 of the Fair
Sentencing Act, which “reduced the statutory penalties
for cocaine based offenses” in order to
“alleviate the severe sentencing disparity between
crack and powder cocaine.” United States v.
Peters, 843 F.3d 572, 575 (4th Cir. 2016). As relevant
in this case, section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act increased
the drug quantities necessary to trigger mandatory minimum
sentences under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1). Pub. L. No.
111-220, 124 Stat. 2372 (2010). Specifically, the threshold
requirement to trigger the mandatory minimum sentence of five
years under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B) was increased from
5 grams to 28 grams. Id.
time of Defendant's sentencing, in accordance with
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, his conviction resulted in a guideline
range of 188-235. (Dkt. 95). Under the First Step Act, the
guidelines range for Defendant's offense is decreased to
151-188 months. (Id.).
Court has been advised that Defendant's projected release
date is September 30, 2025 and that, as of February 6, 2019,
he had served approximately 85 months of his sentence. The
parties agree that Defendant is eligible for a sentence
reduction under the First Step Act. After consideration of
the § 3553(a) factors as well as the parties'
arguments, the Court determines that a reduction of
Defendant's sentence to 151 months, but not less than
time served, to be followed by a period of supervised release
of three years, is appropriate. All other terms of
Defendant's original sentence will remain the same.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and the accompanying order to Defendant, all counsel of
record, the United States Probation Office, and the United
States Marshals Service, for delivery to the Bureau of
 Although subsection 3582(c)(1)(B) does
not reference 3553(a) as do other 3582(c) subsections, that
alone does not bar consideration of other factors. While the
Dillon Court analyzed the procedures under §
3582(c)(2), the language quoted is reflected in §
3582(c)(1)(B). Additionally, this approach is mirrored by the
Fourth Circuit's analysis under Rule 35(b), which allows
the Court to “consider other sentencing factors . . .
when deciding the extent of a reduction.” United
States v. Davis, 679 F.3d 190, 195 (4th Cir. 2012);
see also United States Sentencing Commission, Office
of Education and Sentencing Practice, FIRST STEP