In re Sealed Case

Defendant pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. His advisory guidelines range was 324-405 months’ imprisonment, but the statutory maximum for his offense was 240 months’ imprisonment, 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(C). The court varied downward under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) and imposed a term of 210 months’ imprisonment. In 2013, the court reduced that sentence to 150 months under FRCP 35(b), based on the government's motion to reflect the defendant’s provision of substantial assistance. In 2016, the defendant moved to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c) based on Guidelines Amendment 782, which retroactively reduced his base offense level by two levels and resulted in an amended guideline range of 262-327 months’ imprisonment. The district court concluded that because the statutory maximum sentence of 240 months’ imprisonment was lower than the minimum of the appellant’s amended guideline range, his “guideline range remains unchanged and he is not eligible for a further reduction.” A court may reduce a defendant’s sentence if he was sentenced “based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission,” 18 U.S.C 3582(c)(2). The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The lowered guideline range played no relevant part in determining the defendant’s sentence; he is ineligible for a reduction under section 3582(c). View "In re Sealed Case" on Justia Law

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