United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
March 15, 2018
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia No. 1:12-cr-00125-19
Anne West, appointed by the court, argued the cause and filed
the brief for appellant.
Guadalupe Galaviz, pro se, was on the briefs for appellant.
S. Smith, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause for
appellee. With him on the brief were Jessie K. Liu, U.S.
Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, George
P. Eliopoulos, Barry Wiegand, and Priya Naik, Assistant U.S.
Attorneys. Lauren R. Bates, Assistant U.S. Attorney, entered
Before: Rogers and Pillard, Circuit Judges, and Randolph,
Senior Circuit Judge.
judgment of conviction was entered upon Guadalupe
Galaviz's plea to two counts of drug distribution
conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(a), 841(b)(1)(A)(i), and 841(b)(1)(B)(ii), he filed a
motion, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), to reduce
his sentence of 180 months' imprisonment in view of a
subsequent retroactive two-level reduction under the U.S.
Sentencing Guidelines for most drug offenses. The district
court concluded he was eligible to have his sentence reduced
but denied the motion. Galaviz appeals on the principal
ground that the denial was procedurally unreasonable because
the district court failed to give adequate consideration to
sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). For the
following reasons, we affirm.
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), the district court "may
reduce the term of imprisonment" for a defendant
"sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a
sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the
Sentencing Commission" (emphasis added). Galaviz was
sentenced to 180 months' imprisonment on each of two drug
conspiracy counts, to be served concurrently, which reflected
the sum of the mandatory minimum sentences on each count, 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A)(i), 841(b)(1)(B)(ii), and
was consistent with his statement in the plea agreement that
he was "pleading guilty to the agreed sentence of 15
years, " Plea Agrm't at 12 (Nov. 6, 2013).
Thereafter the U.S. Sentencing Commission amended the
Sentencing Guidelines in November 2014 to retroactively
reduce the base offense level for almost all drug offenses by
two levels. See U.S.S.G. Manual, Supp. to App'x
C, amends. 782, 788 (2016). As calculated under the
Guidelines in effect when he was sentenced, Galaviz's
sentencing range, with an offense level of 37, was 210 to 262
months. As recalculated with a two-level reduction, his
revised sentencing range, with an offense level of 35, was
168 to 210 months. Galaviz argued for a reduction of his
sentence to 135 months, the low end of the range for offense
level 33, on the ground that his 180-month sentence fell
within the range for offense level 35; alternatively, he
sought a reduction to 168 months.
district court followed the two-step procedure for addressing
the limited scope of § 3582(c)(2) described in
Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826-27
(2010). First, the district court concluded that Galaviz was
eligible for a sentence reduction. United States v.
Galaviz, 130 F.Supp.3d 197, 200-03 (D.D.C. Sept. 15,
2015) ("Galaviz I"). Although the plea
agreement contained a waiver of the right to seek a sentence
reduction, Galaviz was informed at sentencing that he
reserved the right to file a motion pursuant to §
3582(c)(2). See id. at 200-01. Further, although he
was sentenced to concurrent terms of 180 months -
representing the sum of the mandatory minimums on each count
- which was 30 months below the Guidelines sentencing range
for offense level 37, the district court explained it had
used the Guidelines as a "relevant part of the analytic
framework" for determining Galaviz's sentence,
id. at 202-03 (quoting Freeman v. United
States, 564 U.S. 522, 530 (2011) (plurality opinion),
and citing United States v. Epps, 707 F.3d 337, 351
(D.C. Cir. 2013)); see also Hughes v. United States,
No. 17-155, slip op. at 9 (U.S. June 4, 2018), and therefore
his sentence was "based on" a subsequently lowered
Guidelines range, Galaviz I, 130 F.Supp.3d at 203.
upon seeking supplemental memoranda in aid of sentencing on
whether it should exercise its discretion to reduce
Galaviz's sentence, see id. at 204, the district
court, second, reconsidered sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a) and denied the motion. United States v.
Galaviz, 145 F.Supp.3d 14 (D.D.C. Nov. 12, 2015)
("Galaviz II"), order vacated and
reentered, 183 F.Supp.3d 103 (D.D.C. Apr. 26, 2016)
("Galaviz III"). Among other factors, the
district court reviewed Galaviz's leadership role in the
conspiracies, the large scale of the narcotics distribution
operation, the purity of the narcotics involved (suggesting
the defendant was near the top of the supply chain), and its
determination at sentencing that, upon applying a variance, a
180-month sentence was appropriate. The court observed
Galaviz's sentence falls within the revised Guidelines
range, at the lower end, and there is no new information
indicating a reduction is warranted. Galaviz III,
183 F.Supp.3d at 109. Galaviz appeals.
determining whether to modify a defendant's sentence, the
district court must consider the factors in 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a) "to the extent that they are applicable, "
after determining that the defendant is legally eligible for
a reduction by ensuring that a modification would be
"consistent with applicable policy statements issued by
the Sentencing Commission." Id. §
3582(c)(2); see Dillon, 560 U.S. at 826- 27. The
relevant Guidelines policy statement is that the district
court must consider "the nature and seriousness of the
danger to . . . the community that may be posed by a
[sentence] reduction, " and may consider the
defendant's post-conviction conduct as well. U.S.S.G.
§ 1B1.10 cmt. n.1(B)(ii), (iii) ("Guidelines
Policy"). The district court need not "consider
every § 3553(a) factor in every case, " United
States v. Lafayette, 585 F.3d 435, 440 (D.C. Cir. 2009)
(quoting In re Sealed Case, 527 F.3d 188, 191 (D.C.
Cir. 2008)), although it must "consider the
parties' arguments" and have "a reasoned
basis" for its sentencing decision, id.
(quoting Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 356
(2007)); see United States v. Pyles, 862 F.3d 82,
84, 88 (D.C. Cir. 2017). Because § 3582(c)(2) grants the
district court discretionary authority to reduce a
defendant's sentence, this court "must first ensure
that the district court committed no significant procedural
error . . . . [and] then consider the substantive
reasonableness of the [district court's decision to grant
or deny a reduction] under an abuse-of-discretion
standard." Gall ...