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United States v. Hamlin

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 29, 2014

Joseph Hamlin Defendants.


VALERIE BAKER FAIRBANK, Senior District Judge.


In 1998, Joseph Hamlin ("defendant") was convicted in United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ("the Tennessee court") Case No. CR 98-38-10 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base ("crack"), and marijuana. The Tennessee court sentenced defendant to 156 months (thirteen years) in federal prison. After defendant served the thirteen years in federal prison (including time served prior to sentencing), he began a ten-year period of supervised release.

On June 25, 2010, the Tennessee court transferred jurisdiction over defendant to this court for the duration of his supervised release. See Documents ("Does") 1-2. Proceeding pro se, defendant filed a motion for relief under United States Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G.") § 7B1.1 (Doc 3). As ordered (Docs 4, 5 and 9), the government filed a response to the defendant's motion on April 28, 2014 (Doc 10). This Court's April 10, 2014 order (Doc 9) advised defendant that he was allowed to file a reply brief in support of his motion no later than Friday, May 16, 2014. Even assuming that defendant tendered a reply to prison authorities for mailing on Friday, May 16, 2014 and it was not actually mailed until Monday, May 19, 2014, any such reply would have reached the Clerk's Office of this court in the ordinary course of the mail by now. See Cox v. California, 2013 WL 3755956, *1 (C.D. Cal. July 16, 2013) ("Even excluding the two intervening days when there was no U.S. Postal Service delivery of first-class mail... in the ordinary course of events the document certainly would have arrived here no later than... five mailing days later.") (Fairbank, J.) (citing U.S. v. Mierop, 2010 549297, *2 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 10, 2010) (Maloney, C.J.) (even assuming prison did not mail reply until Thursday, February 4, two days after petitioner submitted it, that brief would have made the 700-mile journey via regular first-class mail from his prison to the Clerk's office within three business days, i.e., by Monday, February 8)). Accordingly, the Court proceeds to rule on the motion without waiting further for a reply. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny the defendant's motion.

Defendant's motion reads as follows, in its entirety:

[He] should be considered [for] a reduction under U.S.S.G. 5K1.1 [because] the defendant[']s substantial assistance led to great bodily injuries that was [sic] life[-]threatening[.] [T]he defendant has co-operated and continues to co-operate in the case of above case number the defendant leader head of the criminal enterpri[s]e, leader of the Rolling 90s street gang the defendant in the above case number and name has testified on the trial of Jamal Shakur and receive[d] a downward departure of up to 50% of the applicable guideline range.
The defendant asserts that he has been brurtally [sic] stab[b]ed and beaten by members of the Rolling 90s street gang as a result the defendant was place[d] in cri[t] ical condition for many days pursuant by these members that ha[ve] been directed to kill the defendant which [sic] was stab[b]ed, beaten, and stomped to[o] [and] the defendant nearly died.
The defendant ask[s] this court as a result of his substantial assistance warrants a downward departure due to his co-operation that resulted in great bodily injuries and under Exhibit #1A a cop[y] of the hospital report that gives a full description of the defendant[']s time, condition and care level at the time of or after his arrival to Emergency Room.
The defendant is asking [and] praying that this court give the above number and name a departure adjustment pursuant to 5K1[.]1 if the cooperation resulted in great bodily injuries a reduction is warranted. The defendant asserts that this court can consider his circumstances[;] the defendant is going through cri[t]ical thyrapy [sic] rehabilitation and is now classified by the (SSID office) as being disabled after his injuries. The Defendant now request[s] that this court will order a new pre sentence report in order to determine his eligibility for consideration of a reduction in the term of supervised release. Doc 3 at 1-2 (paragraph breaks added). In its opposition (Doc 10 at 3), the government rightly opines that Guideline § 7B 1.1 does not authorize the remedy sought by the defendant. Indeed, Guideline § 7B 1.1 is a policy statement which instructs district courts how to classify a defendant's violation of the terms of supervised release or probation. This section is inapposite here, because there is no allegation in our record that defendant violated any of the terms of his supervised release. Nonetheless, because "pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, " U.S. v. Guizar, No. 13-10132, ___ F.Appx. ___, 2014 WL 2087643, *1 (9th Cir. May 20, 2014), the Court treats defendant's putative U.S.S.G. 7B1.1 motion as a motion for early termination of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(1).[1]


The statutory provision governing early termination of supervised release states, in its entirety,

The court may, after considering the factors set forth in [18 U.S.C.] section 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(CC), (a)(2)(D), (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(7) -
(1) terminate a term of supervised release and discharge the defendant released at any time after the expiration of one year of supervised release, pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure relating to the modification of probation, if it is satisfied that such action is ...

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