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 two counts: Conspiracy to Possess With Intent
to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Cocaine Base, in violation
of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), and
846 (Count 1); and Felon in Possession of Ammunition, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (Count 7). After taking
into account the § 851 Information that the Government
previously filed, his statutory sentencing ranges were 20
years-to-Life, followed by at least 10 years of supervised
release (Count 1); and up to 10 years, followed by up to 3
years of supervised release (Count 7). PSR ¶¶ 66,
70; ECF No. 391.
sentencing, Defendant was held accountable for 907.2 of
crack. PSR ¶ 17. His Guidelines range-after taking into
account his career offender designation-was 324-405 months
(36/VI), followed by 10 years of supervised release. PSR
¶¶ 67, 73; ECF No. 391. The Court granted the
Government's motion for a downward departure and departed
two levels to a Guidelines range of 262-327 months (34/VI),
and ultimately imposed a sentence of 264 months incarceration
on Count 1 and 120 months on Count 7, followed by a 10-year
term of supervised release on Count 1 and a 3-year term of
supervised release on Count 7. ECF No. 390. The Court later
reduced his sentence of imprisonment on Count 1 to 235 months
pursuant to a Guidelines amendment. ECF No. 470. The Court
later further reduced his sentence to 160 months imprisonment
pursuant to a Rule 35(b) motion. ECF No. 597. BOP records
reflect that he was released from custody on April 3, 2018.
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 with violating 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(b)(1)(A)(iii). Section 2(a) of the Fair Sentencing
Act modified the statutory penalties set forth in §
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.
Defendant's motion, he requests a full resentencing
hearing in which he would seek to challenge his career
offender designation. See ECF No. 896 at 7. The
Government argues that he is not entitled to a full
resentencing. See ECF No. 903 at 6-9.
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.” Notably, Wirsing
did not address whether that particular defendant's
sentence should have been reduced, only that he was eligible
for consideration. See Wirsing, 943 F.3d at 186.
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
sentence reduction is not appropriate in this case. There are
several reasons why the Court has reached this conclusion,
including (1) he was held accountable at sentencing for a
crack weight (907.2 grams) that would have supported a charge
to the current threshold amount (280 grams); (2) he received
an enhancement for possessing a firearm in connection with
the drug conspiracy; (3) he has a significant criminal
history, including numerous prior convictions for crack
possession and distribution; and (4) he remains a career
offender. For these reasons, the Court declines to
reduce his term of supervised release, and his motion, ECF
No. 896, is therefore DENIED.
IS SO ORDERED.
 Defendant is also currently facing a
supervised release revocation hearing for multiple serious
alleged violations. These alleged violations did not factor
into the Court's decision on this motion because it has
not yet been ...