United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Criswell seeks relief from his sentence under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c) and 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF Nos. 2199 &
2284). The United States (“Government”) asks the
Court to deny Criswell's claims (ECF Nos. 2234 &
2310). Having reviewed the briefs and the record, the Court
finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing.
For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants the
Government's request and, consequently, denies
2013, Criswell pled guilty to four controlled-substance
offenses. His plea agreement contained the following
stipulations regarding his prison sentence range:
The parties stipulate and agree that the defendant is a
career offender and that, pursuant to U.S.S.G. §§
4B1.1, 3E1.1(a) and 3E1.1(b), his total offense level is 34,
with a corresponding sentencing range of 262 to 327 months.
In the event that the Court determines that the defendant is
not a career offender, the parties stipulate nonetheless that
the appropriate sentencing range, prior to any motion for
departure by the government, is 262 months to 327 months. The
parties understand that these stipulations are not binding on
the court, and that should the court not accept these
stipulations, the defendant will have no right to withdraw
(Plea Agreement, ECF No. 1293, at 8-9.) The Court accepted
sentencing, the Court did not find that Criswell was a career
offender under the Sentencing Guidelines. Instead, the Court
noted the Guidelines indicated that, due to Criswell's
criminal history and the amount of drugs for which he was
responsible, he should be imprisoned from 235 to 293 months.
As Criswell's presentence investigation report indicated,
that calculation was based on Criswell not being subject to
the career-offender enhancement in § 4B1.1. After noting
that Guidelines range, the Court acknowledged that the
stipulated range of 262 months to 327 months controlled.
Relying on that stipulated range, the Court sentenced
Criswell to 300 months in prison.
2016, Criswell filed his § 2255 motion, arguing that his
sentence was unconstitutional. He later supplemented his
§ 2255 motion with a request to have his sentence
reduced under § 3582(c)(2). The Government responded to
each of those two grounds separately. Accordingly, this
matter is now ripe for consideration.
seeks relief from his sentence under both § 3582(c)(2)
and § 2255. For the following reasons, the Court
concludes that neither avenue of relief is available to him.
asks this Court to reduce his sentence pursuant to §
3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing
Guidelines, which reduced the base offense level for certain
drug offenses. Generally, federal courts “may not
modify a term of imprisonment once it has been
imposed.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c). One exception to
that rule arises when the defendant “has been sentenced
to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that
has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing
Commission.” Id. § 3582(c)(2).
3582(c)(2) “establishes a two-step inquiry.”
Dillon, 560 U.S. at 826. First, the Court must
determine whether it is authorized to grant a sentence
reduction. See Id. If so, the Court uses its
discretion to decide how much of a reduction, if any, is
appropriate under the particular circumstances of the case.
Id. at 827.
motion fails at step one, as his sentence was not
“based on” a Guidelines range. Instead, the Court
based his sentence on the ...