United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LOVELACE BLACKBURN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is presently pending before the court on defendant's
Unopposed and Time Sensitive Motion for an Amended Judgment
Pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018. (Doc. 173.) Defendant
Dennis French asks the court to amend his Judgment to reduce
his total term of imprisonment from 240 months to time served
to be followed by 8 years of supervised release.
(Id. at 1.) The Government does not oppose the
reduction in defendant's sentence. (Id. at 3.)
Upon consideration of the record, the submissions of the
parties, the arguments of counsel, and the relevant law, the
court is of the opinion that defendant's Unopposed and
Time Sensitive Motion for an Amended Judgment Pursuant to the
First Step Act of 2018 is GRANTED.
2003, Mr. French pled guilty to two counts of distribution of
50 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1). For sentencing purposes, the court
determined that Mr. French was accountable for 208.97 grams
of crack cocaine. Under the laws at that time, these amounts
of crack, plus an enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851,
triggered a mandatory minimum of 20 years. Additionally, at
that time, the base offense level was 34 with a total offense
level of 31 after a three-level reduction for acceptance of
responsibility. Combined with his criminal history category
of IV, Mr. French's advisory guideline range was 151 to
188 months in custody subject to the mandatory minimum of 240
sentenced in December 2003 to 240 months (the mandatory
minimum) on each count, to run concurrently, to be followed
by 120 months of supervised release. (Doc. 60.)
August 3, 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L.
111-220, went into effect. Section 2 of the Act increased the
quantity of cocaine base required to trigger the enhanced
penalties of Section 841. Specifically, it raised the
(b)(1)(A) threshold from “50 grams” to “280
grams” and the (b)(1)(B) threshold from “5
grams” to “50 grams.” Congress did not
apply these changes retroactively to defendants sentenced
before the Act's passage. Accordingly, Mr. French could
not obtain relief under the Fair Sentencing Act.
December 21, 2018, the President signed into law the First
Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-135. Section 404 of the Act
gives retroactive effect to the changes made by Sections 2
and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Section 404(a)
defines a “covered offense” as “a violation
of a Federal criminal statute, the statutory penalties for
which were modified by Section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act
of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372), that was
committed before August 3, 2010.” Section 404(b) then
provides that “[a] court that imposed a sentence for a
covered offense may . . . impose a reduced sentence as if
Section 2 . . . of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public
Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at the time the
covered offense was committed.”
to Mr. French:
4. Pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018, Mr. French's
mandatory minimum term of imprisonment decreases from 20
years to 10 years and his statutory term of supervised
release decreases from a range of 10 years-life to 8
years-life. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B); 21 U.S.C.
§ 960(b)(2)(C). Specifically, after the Fair Sentencing
Act, the mandatory minimum for an offense involving at least
28 grams, but less than 280 grams of crack cocaine is subject
to a 5-year mandatory minimum and a maximum of 40 years.
See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). And this minimum
term would be doubled to 10 years by the enhancement pursuant
to 21 U.S.C. § 851.
5. Additionally, today Mr. French's U.S. Sentencing
Guideline range decreases from 151 to 188 months to 84 to 105
months (base offense level of 28 (U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 for
at least 196 grams, but less than 280 grams of crack cocaine)
-3 for acceptance of responsibility and criminal history
category IV), subject to the mandatory minimum of 120 months.
Thus, the guideline imprisonment range becomes 120 months.
6. As of February 2019, Mr. French had served 193 months
toward his federal sentence.
7. In light of the retroactive application of the First Step
Act of 2018, the amended guideline range, and the time
already incarcerated, Mr. French respectfully requests an
Amended Judgment, reducing his term of imprisonment to time
served to be followed by 8 years of supervised release.
(Doc. 173 ¶¶ 4-5.)
reasons set forth in Mr. French's Motion and without
opposition from the United States, the court concludes that
Mr. French Defendant is eligible for relief in the form of a
reduced sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 and
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B) (allowing the court to modify
a sentence “to the extent otherwise expressly permitted
by statute”). Mr. French has waived his right to be
present for resentencing.
defendant's Unopposed and Time Sensitive Motion for an
Amended Judgment Pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018,
(doc. 173), is GRANTED. The court in its
discretion REDUCES defendant's term of
imprisonment to the period of TIME SERVED PLUS TEN
(10) DAYS. Defendant's term of supervised
release shall be REDUCED to a period of
EIGHT (8) YEARS. All other ...