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United States v. Bynum

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

May 28, 2019

United States of America,
v.
Maurice Bynum, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE Senior United States District Judge.

         This case comes before the court on Defendant's pro se Motion for Relief Under First Step Act of 2018. ECF No. 1517. The Government filed a Response in Opposition. ECF No. 1537. The United States Probation Office filed a Sentence Reduction Report indicating Defendant does not qualify for relief under the Act. ECF No. 1535.

         The court has reviewed the above filings as well as the Superseding Indictment (ECF No. 367), Defendant's Plea Agreement (ECF No. 501), Transcript of Rule 11 hearing, and PreSentence Report (“PSR”) (ECF No. 1535-1), and concludes that Defendant is not eligible for relief under the First Step Act.

         It was charged in Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment that Defendant:

knowingly and intentionally did combine, conspire, agree and have tacit understanding with each other and with others, both known and unknown to the grand jury, to knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (commonly known as “crack” cocaine), both Schedule II controlled substances, said conspiracy involving 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, and 50 grams or more of “crack” cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A); All in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

ECF No. 367 at 2.

         Defendant thereafter entered into a Plea Agreement that provided for a plea to a lesser included offense:

The Defendant agrees to plead guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment now pending, which charges conspiracy to distribute cocaine and “crack” cocaine, said conspiracy involving 5 grams or more of “crack” cocaine and 500 grams or more of cocaine, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A)[1].
In order to sustain its burden of proof as to this offense, the Government is required to prove the following:
A. The conspiracy was knowingly and wilfully formed and was in existence on or about the dates set forth in the Superseding Indictment; B. The defendant joined the conspiracy with knowledge of the conspiracy's unlawful purpose; and C. The defendant distributed 5 grams of “crack” cocaine and 500 grams or more of cocaine, agreed to the distribution of those quantities or the distribution of those quantities was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant and within the scope of his agreement.
Possible Penalties for 21 U.S.C. § 846 A mandatory minimum term of 10 years, a maximum of life, a maximum fine of $4 million dollars, a term of supervised release of 8 years and a $100.00 special assessment.[2]

         ECF No. 501 at 1-2.

At the Rule 11 hearing, the court advised Defendant:
They would have to be able to prove that there was such a conspiracy, it was knowingly and wilfully formed and in existence on or about these dates, that at some point in time while it was in existence you joined in it with knowledge of its unlawful purpose and that while you were a member of it, you either personally distributed five grams of crack and 500 grams or more of cocaine, you agreed to the distribution of those quantities, or the distribution of those quantities was reasonably foreseeable to you and within the scope of ...

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