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Powell v. United States

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 5, 2018

DHEADRY LOYD POWELL, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          CARLOS MURGUIA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the court upon petitioner Dheadry Loyd Powell's Motion to Reduce Sentence (Doc. 157).

         I. Background

         On July 27, 2017, petitioner filed a motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and § 1B1.10(c) of the Sentencing Guidelines. (Doc. 157.) Petitioner argues that Amendments 750 and 782 to the Sentencing Guidelines should apply to his case, reducing his sentence. The government opposes petitioner's motion because although the amendments reduce petitioner's drug offense level, they do not reduce the applicable guidelines range.

         Petitioner pleaded guilty to: (Count I) conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base, and (Count II) money laundering. At the sentencing hearing on May 1, 2007, the court found that petitioner's total offense level should be level 48, but because the sentencing guidelines are capped at level 43, petitioner's total offense level for purposes of sentencing was level 43. Petitioner's criminal history category was determined to be four. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Count I and 20 years on Count II to run concurrently, followed by five years of supervised release.

         II. Legal Standard

         District courts generally lack jurisdiction to reduce a sentence once it has been imposed. United States v. Kurtz, 819 F.3d 1230, 1233-34 (10th Cir. 2016). 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) provides that the

court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except that . . . 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 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(o), upon motion of the defendant . . . the court may reduce the term of imprisonment, after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

§ 3582(c)(2).

         Section 1B1.10 is the policy statement governing § 3582(c). It requires a court considering a sentence reduction to “determine the amended guideline range that would have been applicable to the defendant if the amendment(s) to the guidelines . . . had been in effect at the time the defendant was sentenced.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(1).

         “In Amendment 750, the Sentencing Commission revised the drug equivalency tables in the commentary to § 2D1.1 so that one gram of cocaine is now treated as the equivalent of 3571 grams, not 20 kilograms, of marijuana.” United States v. Robinson, 506 Fed.Appx. 840, 841 (10th Cir. 2013). Amendment 782 reduced the base offense levels attributed to some drug offenses in the Drug Quantity Table found in § 2D1.1 of the Guidelines, which lowered the Guidelines minimum sentences for drug offenses.

         Reducing a sentence pursuant to § 3582(c)(2) requires “a two-step inquiry. A court must first determine that a reduction is consistent with § 1B1.10 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).” Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826 (2010). A petitioner is not entitled to a reduction if “an amendment . . . does not have the effect of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline range.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a)(2)(B). “The Guidelines policy statements . . . explain that § 3582(c)(2) proceedings do not constitute a full resentencing of the defendant.” United States v. Battle, 706 F.3d 1313, 1317 (10th Cir. 2013).

         III. Discussion

         The court's first step is to determine “the amended guideline range that would have been applicable to the defendant had the relevant amendment been in effect at the time of ...


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