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); DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR DOCUMENTS (ECF
Nos. 157, 170)
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are two pro se motions by Defendant
Baltazar Castenada Garcia (“Defendant”).
Defendant first moves for a reduction in his sentence
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (“§
3582”), in accordance with section 1B1.10(b)(1) of the
United States Sentencing Guidelines and Amendment
to the USSG. ECF No. 157. The Government filed an opposition
to Defendant's § 3582 motion, ECF No. 158, and
Defendant has filed a reply, ECF No. 161. Defendant has also
requested that the Court provide him with all documentation
pertaining to his case. ECF No. 170. Upon a thorough 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
Defendant's § 3582 motion, and DENIES
Defendant's request for his case documents.
August 17, 2015, Defendant entered a guilty plea on both
counts of a two-count Superseding Information; Count 1
charged him with Conspiracy to Manufacture and Distribute 50
or more Plants of Marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), and Count 2 Charged
him with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute
Marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). ECF Nos. 95 (Plea Agreement); 99
(Superseding Information); 123 (PSR).
to the PSR, Defendant's base offense level was 32 (based
on the amount of controlled substances involved in the
case), and his criminal history category of III (based on 5
criminal history points). PSR ¶¶ 18, 37. Two levels
were added pursuant to §§ 2D1.1(b)(12), because
Defendant maintained a premise for the purpose of
manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance.
Id.¶ 20. Pursuant to §§ 3E1.1(a) and
(b), Defendant qualified for a 3-level base offense reduction
for accepting of responsibility, to an adjusted offense level
of 29. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. The PSR, which cited
the 2015 Guidelines manual (incorporating all Guideline
amendments) found that the Guidelines range for a defendant
with an offense level of 31 and a criminal history category
III was 135 to 168 months imprisonment, and the PSR
recommended a 135-month sentence. Id. at 15.
sentencing memorandum, filed on December 3, 2015, argues that
the PSR overstated his criminal history, noting that the
three convictions that led to the computation of his criminal
history category at III were based upon violations of section
14601 of the California Vehicle Code, and that for two of
these convictions, no jail time was imposed. ECF No. 133. The
Government's sentencing memorandum argued that
Defendant's criminal history category was properly
computed because two of the aforementioned convictions were
committed while Defendant was on probation. ECF No. 135 at 1.
December 14, 2015, this Court sentenced Defendant. ECF No.
139. After hearing arguments from counsel, the Court found
that Defendant's criminal history category was
overstated, and determined that Defendant's criminal
history category should be II instead of III. Under the 2015
Guidelines Manual, the Guidelines range for a Defendant with
a criminal history category of II and a base offense level of
32 is 121-151 months. USSG, Chapter 5, Part A. Accordingly,
the Court sentenced Defendant to a 121-month term of
imprisonment on Defendant for Counts 1 and 2, to be served
concurrently. ECF No. 139.
SECTION 3582 MOTION
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
§ 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. § 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. See Amendment 782.
The Commission also voted to make the Amendment retroactively
applicable to previously sentenced defendants. See
USSG, 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 USSG § 1B1.10.” Id. That
policy statement enumerates a list of amendments to the
Guidelines which have lowered the sentencing ranges for
certain offenses. See USSG § 1B1.10(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.” USSG § 1B1.10(b)(1).
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).
motion, Defendant requests that the Court reduce his sentence
to a 97-month term of imprisonment, erroneously contending
that he never received the benefit of Amendment 782. ECF No.
157 at 2-3. In its opposition, the Government points out that
the PSR incorporated the November 1, 2015 version of the
Guidelines when computing his Guidelines range, and that
Defendant's Guidelines range was therefore calculated
pursuant to the amended Guidelines. ECF No. 158 at 1-2.