United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
GLEN E. CONRAD SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Delante Roper, through counsel, has filed a motion for
reduction of sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018.
The government has not opposed the defendant's motion.
For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.
February 5, 2009, a grand jury in the Western District of
Virginia returned a multi-count superseding indictment
against Roper and several co-defendants. On August 26, 2009,
a jury convicted Roper of conspiracy to distribute 5 grams or
more of cocaine base (a lesser-included offense of Count
One), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; distribution of
cocaine base (Counts Four and Eight), in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); and possession with intent to
distribute cocaine base (Count Ten), in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Prior to trial, the government filed
a notice of enhanced punishment pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §
851. As a result of the prior felony drug conviction listed
in the notice, Roper was subject to a mandatory minimum term
of imprisonment of 10 years to life for the conspiracy
offense with which he was convicted. See 21 U.S.C. §
appeared for sentencing on November 12, 2009. At that time,
he was found to qualify as a career offender under §
4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The
career-offender designation, coupled with the "offense
statutory maximum," produced a base offense level of 37
and a criminal history category of VI. See U.S.S.G. § 4B
1.1(b). The resulting Guidelines range of imprisonment was
360 months to life. The court ultimately sentenced the
defendant to a total term of imprisonment of 360 months, with
240 months to be served concurrently with a 322-month
sentence imposed by the Northern District of West Virginia in
Criminal Action No. 3:08CR00059.
has moved for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act
of 2018. Section 404 of the First Step Act permits the court
to retroactively apply the statutory penalties modified by
the Fair Sentencing Act. See First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L.
No. 115-391, § 404, 132 Stat. 5194 (enacted Dec. 21,
2018); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B)
(authorizing courts to modify a sentence of imprisonment
"to the extent otherwise expressly permitted by
statute"). Section 404 provides that "[a] court
that imposed a sentence for a covered offense may, on motion
of the defendant, . . . 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. 115-391,
§ 404(b). The Act defines a "covered offense"
as "a violation of a Federal criminal statute, the
statutory penalties of 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, 2010."
R § 404(a).
case, it is undisputed that the conspiracy offense with which
Roper was convicted is a "covered offense" for
purposes of the First Step Act. The offense was committed
before August 3, 2010, and the applicable statutory penalties
were modified by section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act, which
"reduced the statutory penalties for cocaine base
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) (citing Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, § 2, Pub. L.
No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372, 2373 (codified at 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(2012))). As relevant in the instant case, section
2 of the Fair Sentencing Act increased the amount of cocaine
base required to trigger the statutory penalties set forth in
§ 841(b)(1)(B) from 5 grams to 28 grams. See Pub. L. No.
111-220, § 2(a)(1), 124 Stat. at 2372; see also
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B) (2012). Accordingly, the court
is. authorized to "impose a reduced sentence as if
[section 2] were in effect at the time the covered offense
was committed." 115 Pub. L. 391, § 404(b).
the Fair Sentencing Act is retroactively applied in the
defendant's case, the statutory sentencing range for the
conspiracy offense is up to 30 years' imprisonment, based
on the quantity of cocaine base found by the jury. See 21
U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) (2012) (setting forth the
statutory penalties applicable to offenses involving less
than 28 grams a mixture or substance containing cocaine
base). The guideline range of imprisonment that now applies
in the defendant's case, based on a statutory maximum
sentence of 30 years, is 262 to 327 months.
review of the record, the court concludes that a sentence
reduction is warranted in . the defendant's case. After
considering the arguments made in support of the motion, the
defendant's positive institutional record, and the
sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), the
court will impose a reduced term of imprisonment of 262
months, with 240 months to run concurrently with the
defendant's other federal sentence. All other terms of
the original sentence will remain the same.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and the accompanying order to the defendant, all counsel of
record, the United States Probation Office, and the United