United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING
DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO REDUCE SENTENCE PURSUANT TO 18
U.S.C. § 3582(C)(2) (ECF NO. 52)
LAWRENCE J. O’NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Jorge Guevara’s pro
se motion to reduce his sentence (ECF No. 52), under
U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(1) and Amendment 782 (“the
Amendment”) to the United States Sentencing Guidelines,
which revised the Drug Quantity Table in § 2D1.1 and
reduced by two levels the offense level applicable to many
drug trafficking offenses. On the basis that the Defendant is
ineligiblefor a reduction under § 1B 1.10, the
Government opposes the motion (ECF No. 56). The Federal
Defender’s Office has declined to supplement the motion
(ECF No. 53). Upon review of the parties’ briefing, the
record in the case including the Probation Office’s
Presentence Report (“PSR”), and the relevant law,
the Court denies the motion for the following reasons.
a three-count indictment, see ECF No. 1, Defendant
Guevara pleaded guilty to Count 1, 21 U.S.C. § 846,
841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), conspiracy to distribute and possession
with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. See
ECF Nos. 29, 31. According to the PSR, the amount of drugs
attributed to Defendant was at least 7.4 kilograms of actual
methamphetamine. See PSR at ¶¶ 7, 13.
Based on the amount of methamphetamine involved in the case,
the PSR determined that the base offense level was 38.
Id. ¶ 14.
sentencing, the Court accepted and adopted the PSR without
change, finding that pursuant to §2D1.1(a)(5)(iii),
Defendant’s base offense level was 38 and his criminal
history was category I (based on 0 criminal history points).
Id. ¶¶ 14, 27. The Court found that
pursuant to §§ 3E1.1(a) and (b), Defendant’s
acceptance of responsibility warranted a three-level
reduction, and, pursuant to § 2D1.1(b)(16), the specific
offense characteristics warranted a two-level safety-valve
reduction, for an adjusted total offense level of 33.
Id. ¶¶ 21, 22. The Guidelines range for a
defendant with an offense level of 33 and a criminal history
category I was 135 to 168 months imprisonment. Id.
¶ 44; U.S.S.G. Ch. 5, Pt. A. On August 25, 2014, the
Court in a downward departure imposed a sentence of 80
months; 24 months supervised release; and a $100 special
assessment. See ECF Nos. 47, 48.
federal court generally ‘may not modify a term of
imprisonment once it has been imposed.”"
Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 819 (2010)
(quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)). However, a federal
sentencing court is authorized to modify an imposed sentence
when the relevant sentencing range was lowered subsequent to
a defendant’s original sentence. 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2); see United States v. Dunn, 728 F.3d
1151, 1155 (9th Cir. 2013) (a district court may do so
“in the case of a defendant who has been sentenced to a
term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has
subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing
Commission.”). Effective November 1, 2014, the
Commission promulgated Amendment 782, which generally revised
the Drug Quantity Table and chemical quantity tables across
drug and chemical types. The Commission also voted to make
the Amendment retroactively applicable to previously
sentenced defendants. See U.S.S.G., sup. App’x
C, amend. 788 (2014); United States v. Navarro, 800
F.3d 1104, 1107 (9th Cir. 2015).
whether a sentence reduction is appropriate under §
3582(c)(2) “requires a two-step inquiry.”
Dunn, 728 F.3d at 1155. At step one, “a
district court must determine whether a prisoner is eligible
for a sentence modification under the Commission’s
policy statement in U.S.S.G. § 1B 1.10.”
Id. That policy statement enumerates a list of
amendments to the Guidelines which have lowered the
sentencing ranges for certain offenses. See §
1B 1.10(d). In the event that one of the enumerated
amendments has lowered a guideline range applicable to a
defendant, the district court “shall determine the
amended guideline range that would have been applicable to
the defendant if the amendment(s)… had been in effect
at the time the defendant was sentenced.” §
answer to step one is that the defendant is eligible for a
reduced sentence, the district court turns to step two of the
inquiry, where the court “must consider any applicable
§ 3553(a) factors and determine whether, in its
discretion, the reduction authorized by reference to the
policies relevant at step one is warranted in whole or in
part under the particular circumstances of the case.”
Dunn, 728 F.3d at 1155 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). The § 3553(a) factors include:
“the nature and circumstances of the offense and the
history and characteristics of the defendant; the purposes of
sentencing; the kinds of sentences available; the sentences
and ranges established by the Guidelines; relevant policy
statements issued by the Sentencing Commission; the need to
avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities among similarly
situated defendants; and the need to provide restitution to
victims.” Id. at 1158 (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
Guevara requests a reduction in his sentence under Amendment
782, enumerated in U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d), and
“pursuant to 18 U.S.C. [§] 3582(c)(2).” ECF
No. 52 at 1.
initial inquiry is whether Defendant is eligible for a
sentence reduction. The Court’s authority to modify a
sentenced is constrained by the Sentencing Commission.
Dillon, 560 U.S. at 825-26. Section 3582 permits
reduction of a sentence only where “such a reduction is
consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the
Sentencing Commission.” However, “[a] reduction
in the defendant’s term of imprisonment is not
consistent with this policy statement and therefore is not
authorized under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) if… an
amendment listed in subsection (c) does not have the effect
of lowering the defendant’s applicable guideline
range.” § 1B1.10 (a)(2)(B).
although the Amendment reduces by two the base offense levels
for most drug offenders, Defendant misapprehends the effect
this has on his sentence. The Amendment does not lower the
base offense level for defendants who possessed over 4.5
kilograms of actual methamphetamine. See Amendment
782, § 1B1.10. In this case, the amount of drugs
attributed to Defendant Guevara-7.4 kilograms, see
PSR at ¶¶ 7, 13; ECF No. 29 at 6-7 (factual basis
for Defendant’s plea) -is well in excess of 4.5
kilograms; thus, it is greater than the minimum set to
qualify a person for the highest base offense level.
See § 2D1.1. As a result, Defendant’s
base offense level remains at 33, and his criminal history
category is unchanged at I. Therefore, the applicable
sentence guideline range remains 135 to 168 months, the same
as the previous range applicable to his case before Amendment
782 took effect.
result, the Court does not have the authority to modify the
Defendant’s sentence. See Dillon, 560 U.S. at
825-26. Because the application of the Amendment does not
have the effect of lowering Defendant’s applicable
guideline range, § 1B1.10 (a)(2)(B) militates finding
that no reduction of sentence may occur. See, e.g.,
United States v. Leniear,574 F.3d 668, 673-74 (9th Cir.
2009) (the final sentencing range was unchanged due to the
operation of the grouping rules). In sum, the answer at step
one is that Defendant does not qualify for a sentence
reduction. Because the answer at ...