United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
J. Beck, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Abingdon,
Virginia, for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
Antonio Hughes, previously sentenced by this court, has filed
a motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to the First Step
Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 404, 132 Stat. 5194,
5220 (2018) (“2018 FSA” or “Act”),
which made retroactive certain provisions of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, § 2, 124
Stat. 2372, 2372 (2010) (“2010 FSA”). I find the
defendant eligible for relief, and I will grant the
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 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 Â§ 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 whose crack cocaine drug crime was committed before
August 3, 2010, may be eligible for reduction in sentence,
2018 FSA § 404(a), the Act provides that the court is
not required to reduce any sentence, id. at §
404(c). Thus, 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
defendant was indicted in this court on May 28, 2008, and
charged with conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of
cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846. The United States filed an
Information to establish the defendant's prior
convictions pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851, subjecting him
to an increased penalty range of mandatory life imprisonment
due to two or more prior drug convictions.
August 18, 2008, the defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to a
written Plea Agreement. The parties agreed that only one
conviction would apply under 21 U.S.C. § 851, subjecting
him to a mandatory minimum term of 20 years imprisonment, and
a maximum of life. The parties also stipulated that the
defendant was a career offender. As a result, his Sentencing
Guideline range was enhanced in accordance with U.S.
Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 4B1.1. According to the
Presentence Investigation Report, the defendant was held
accountable for approximately 50 grams of cocaine base.
Accordingly, he was determined to have a Total Offense Level
of 34, after a reduction for acceptance of responsibility,
and a Criminal History Category of VI, yielding a guideline
range of 262 to 327 months imprisonment.
February 17, 2009, the defendant was sentenced under the
advisory guidelines to 262 months imprisonment, to be
followed by 10 years of supervised release. Hughes is
currently serving a 20-year related state drug trafficking
sentence imposed by the Circuit Court of the City of Bristol,
Virginia. His subsequent sentence from this court was
directed to run concurrently with this state sentence and it
is estimated by the court's probation office that he has
currently served 128 months of imprisonment. It is
represented by counsel that Hughes' current release date
from his state sentence is June 2, 2025. Def.'s Mot. 3,
ECF No. 3759.
the 2018 FSA, the new statutory sentencing range, if applied
to the defendant with the § 851 Information, is 10 years
to life imprisonment and at least eight years supervised
release. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). The defendant remains
a career offender based on an offense of conviction with a
statutory maximum of life. Therefore, his guideline range
does not change.
it appropriate in determining whether to reduce the
defendant's sentence, and the extent of any such
reduction, to consider the sentencing factors set forth in 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a). I have reviewed the defendant's
original Presentence Investigation Report and the reports of
his work history and educational programs while in state
prison, as supplied by his counsel. Although the
defendant's guideline range remains the same, he has
performed well while incarcerated and is now 59 years old,
which may reduce the possibility of recidivism.
it is hereby O ...