United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten, Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion for a
sentence reduction pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018,
passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on
December 21, 2018. Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194. This
law contains sentencing provisions that apply retroactively
to certain defendants previously sentenced.
pled guilty to a charge of Conspiracy to Possess With Intent
to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Cocaine Base and a Quantity
of Cocaine and Marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), 841(b)(1)(C)
841(b)(1)(D), and 846. His statutory sentencing range was 10
years to Life, followed by at least 5 years of supervised
release. PSR ¶¶ 56, 60. His Guidelines range at
sentencing-after taking into account his classification as a
career offender-was 262-327 months (34/VI), followed by 5
years of supervised release. PSR ¶¶ 57, 63.
Pursuant to the parties' Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreement, the
Court imposed a 180-month term of imprisonment, followed by a
5-year term of supervised release. ECF No. 132.
404(b) of the First Step Act provides that “[a] court
that imposed a sentence for a covered offense may . . .
impose a reduced sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 . . . were in effect at the time the
covered offense was committed.” Section 404(a) defines
“covered offense” 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 . . ., that was committed before August 3, 2010.”
As noted above, Count 1 charged him, in part, with violating
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(iii).
Section 2(a) of the Fair Sentencing Act modified the
statutory penalties set forth in 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(A)(iii) by increasing the threshold amounts of
crack from 50 grams to 280 grams. Because Defendant is
serving a sentence for a pre-August 3, 2010 violation of
§ 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), he is eligible for a sentence
reduction under § 404(b) of the First Step Act. See
United States v. Wirsing, 943 F.3d 175, 185 (4th Cir.
light of the First Step Act and as set forth in the Sentence
Reduction Report, the Court concludes that Defendant is now
subject to a reduced statutory sentencing range. As to Count
1, the custody term has been reduced from 10 years-to-Life to
5-to-40 years, and the supervised release term has been
reduced from at least 5 years to at least 4 years.
See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) (setting
forth the current penalties for a defendant who is convicted
of possessing with intent to distribute at least 28 grams but
less than 280 grams of crack). His Guidelines range is
188-235 months imprisonment (31/VI), followed by 4 years of
Defendant's motion, he requests a full resentencing
hearing in which he would seek to challenge the continued
validity of his career offender designation. See ECF
No. 206 at 11. The Government argues that he is not entitled
to a full resentencing. See ECF No. 209 at 5 n.4.
Currie has recently considered this question and concluded
that a First Step Act defendant is not entitled to a full
resentencing. United States v. Shelton, No. 3:07-329
(CMC), 2019 WL 1598921, at *2-3 (D.S.C. Apr. 15, 2019). The
Court notes Judge Currie's thorough, well-reasoned
opinion and adopts her analysis of the applicable law in this
case. Thus, the Court concludes that although Defendant is
eligible for a sentence reduction, he is not entitled to a
full resentencing. See also Wirsing, 943 F.3d at 181
n.1 (“Defendant does not contest that his relief, if
any, will be in the form of a limited sentence modification
rather than a plenary resentencing.”).
Defendant is eligible for a sentence reduction, a reduction
is not automatic. Section 404(c) of the First Step Act
explicitly provides that “[n]othing in this section
shall be construed to require a court to reduce any sentence
pursuant to this section.”
Government opposes a reduction in his imprisonment term,
arguing that his current sentence of 180 months is still
below his post-First Step Act Guidelines range of 188-235
months. ECF No. 209 at 5. The parties agree, however, that
his supervised release term should be reduced to 4 years.
considering whether to reduce Defendant's sentence, the
Court has carefully reviewed the Presentence Investigation
Report and Sentence Reduction Report, and has considered the
current statutory range, the Guidelines range, the §
3553(a) factors, and evidence of post-sentencing mitigation.
In light of these considerations, the Court concludes that a
reduction of his imprisonment term is not appropriate in this
case, primarily because his current sentence is still below
his revised Guidelines range. However, the Court concludes
that it would be appropriate to reduce his term of supervised
release to 4 years.
these reasons, Defendant's motion, ECF No. 206, is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. An
amended judgment will follow.