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United States v. Jordan

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 7, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Allen Ray Jordan, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SENTENCE REDUCTION UNDER 18 U.S.C. § 3582 AND AMENDMENT 782 TO THE UNITED STATES SENCTENING GUIDELINES

          GARLAND E. BURRELL, JR. Senior United States District Judge

         Defendant Allen Ray Jordan, a federal prisoner, moves for reduction of his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), arguing that Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines lowers his offense level and authorizes the court to reduce his sentence from 360 months to 324 months. Def. Mot. to Reduce Sentence (“Def. Mot.”), ECF No. 414. The United States filed an opposition to the motion. Gov't Opp'n, ECF No. 423. Defendant filed a reply. Reply, ECF No. 424.

         Defendant was initially sentenced to life in prison following a jury verdict finding him guilty of the following charges in the Superseding Indictment: Count One, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1); Count Two, attempt to manufacture methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1); and Count Three, maintaining a place for manufacture of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856. Defendant appealed his sentence and other issues, and the Ninth Circuit vacated his sentence, inter alia, in United States v. Jordan, 291 F.3d 1091, 1094 (9th Cir. 2002), stating inter alia, “[b]ecause of the Supreme Court's shift of direction in Apprendi[ v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000)], and [Ninth Circuit] subsequent precedent, . . . Jordan is entitled to [sentencing] relief.”

         Subsequently, the District Court sentenced Defendant to 360 months in prison, as follows: 240 months on Count One, a consecutive 60 months on Count Two, and a consecutive 60 months on Count Three. Defendant appealed that sentence and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Defendant appealed the affirmance to the United States Supreme Court, which remanded for resentencing in light of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). On remand, the sentencing judge took “a fresh look at [the] 3553 [factors, since] Booker made the guidelines advisory” and ultimately imposed the same 360-month prison sentence. Tr. Of Sent'g to Def. Allen Ray Jordan held on 1/24/06 before Hon. Frank C. Damrell, Jr. (“Sent'g Tr.”), 15:17, :19-20 (No. Cr. S-96-475- FCD), ECF No. 390. Defendant appealed that sentence. It was affirmed. Defendant then filed a petition for writ of certiori with the United States Supreme Court for review of the Ninth Circuit's affirmance; the petition was denied.

         Defendant contends in the sentencing reduction motion sub judice that his 360-month prison sentence should be reduced under § 3582(c)(2) since Amendment 782 to the Sentencing Guidelines lowers his offense level and his advisory guideline imprisonment sentencing range. Section 3582(c)(2) prescribes:

The court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except . . . 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 [and] upon motion of the defendant . . . .

         If a defendant qualifies for a sentencing reduction under § 3582(c), the federal court may reduce a defendant's term of imprisonment if the reduction is warranted by “the factors . . . in section 3553(a) . . . [and it] is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The United States Supreme Court explains in Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826-827 (2010), when determining whether a sentence reduction is appropriate:

A court must first determine that a reduction is consistent with § 1B1.10 [of the United States Sentencing Guidelines] before it may consider whether the authorized reduction is warranted, either in whole or in part, according to the factors set forth in § 3553(a).
. . . At step one, § 3582(c)(2) requires the court to follow the Commission's instructions in § 1B1.10 to determine the prisoner's eligibility for a sentence modification and the extent of the reduction authorized. Specifically, § 1B1.10(b)(1) requires the court to begin by “determin[ing] the amended guideline range that would have been applicable to the defendant” had the relevant amendment been in effect at the time of the initial sentencing. “In making such determination, the court shall substitute only the amendments listed in subsection (c) for the corresponding guideline provisions that were applied when the defendant was sentenced and shall leave all other guideline application decisions unaffected.” Ibid.
At step two of the inquiry, § 3582(c)(2) instructs a court to 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. Because reference to § 3553(a) is appropriate only at the second step of this circumscribed inquiry, it cannot serve to transform the proceedings under § 3582(c)(2) into plenary resentencing proceedings.

         Defendant contends he qualifies to have his sentence reduced, as follows:

Under the 2011 version of the [Federal Sentencing G]uidelines [M]anual, Mr. Jordan's base offense level was 38 because he was responsible for [1.5 KG or more of Methamphetamine (actual)]. PSR at p. 7-9. Two levels were added for possession of a firearm, and two levels were added for his testimony at trial constituting obstruction of justice for a total offense level of 42 [and a sentencing range of 360 months to life in prison]. PSR at p. 8-9.
Under the recent amendment and the 2016 [United States Sentencing Commission G]uidelines [M]anual, the base offense level associated with Mr. Jordan's convictions drops by two, to 36. See U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(2) (2016 ed.) Applying the enhancements his total offense level is now 40 and the amended guideline range is 324-405 months.

Def. Mot. 4:3-12. The United States agrees with this contention, stating, “[a]pplying the first step identified in Dillon, the defendant is correct that Amendment 782 reduced the guideline range applicable in his case [to a new guideline range of 324 to 405 months].” Gov't Opp'n 3:22-23. The record reveals that Defendant “has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission” to a new advisory guideline range of 324 to 405 months; therefore, “the court may reduce [Defendant's] ...


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