United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
KATHRYN H. VRATIL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
8, 2013, the Court sentenced defendant to 240 months in
prison based on a binding plea agreement under Rule
11(c)(1)(C), Fed. R. Crim. P. Judgment In A Criminal
Case (Doc. #19). On June 16, 2015, the Court overruled
defendant's motion to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2). Order (Doc. #22). The United
States Supreme Court recently held that a defendant who
pleads guilty under Rule 11(c)(1)(C) is eligible for relief
under Section 3582(c)(2) if the Guidelines range was
“part of the framework the district court relied on in
imposing the sentence or accepting the agreement.”
Hughes v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1765, 1775 (June
4, 2018); see id. at 1778 (in “usual case,
” court acceptance of Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreement and
sentence imposed pursuant to agreement are “based
on” defendant's Guidelines range). The parties
originally submitted an agreed order on AO Form 247 and
requested a reduced sentence. At the Court's direction,
defendant has filed a brief related to the parties'
request, see Memorandum Explaining Sentence
Reduction (Doc. #30) filed September 26, 2018, which the
government has not opposed. For reasons stated below, the
Court reduces defendant's sentence to 211 months.
federal district court may modify a defendant's sentence
only where Congress has expressly authorized it to do so.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c); United States v.
Blackwell, 81 F.3d 945, 947 (10th Cir. 1996). Defendant
seeks relief under Section 3582(c)(2), which permits the
Court to reduce a sentence if defendant 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).” 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c). To obtain relief under Section 3582(c)(2),
defendant must overcome three distinct hurdles: (1) under the
statute's “based on” clause, defendant must
show he was sentenced based on a Guidelines range the
Sentencing Commission lowered after his sentencing; (2) under
the statute's “consistent with” clause,
defendant must show that his request for a sentence reduction
is consistent with the Commission's policy statements;
and (3) defendant must convince the district court to grant
relief in light of the sentencing factors found in Section
3553(a). United States v. C.D., 848 F.3d 1286,
1289-90 (10th Cir. 2017). Under Tenth Circuit precedent, the
first hurdle is jurisdictional. Id. at 1289.
Defendant Is Eligible For Relief Under 18 U.S.C. §
782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines
(“U.S.S.G.”) lowered the base offense levels for
certain quantities in the Drug Quantity Table at U.S.S.G.
§ 2D1.1. The Court originally found that defendant was
not eligible for relief under Section 3582(c)(2) because his
sentence was based on a binding plea agreement under Rule
11(c)(1)(C), not his Guidelines range. See Order
(Doc. #22) at 1 (citing United States v. Graham, 704
F.3d 1275, 1278 (10th Cir. 2013)). In Hughes, the
Supreme Court abrogated Graham and clarified that a
sentence imposed pursuant to a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreement
falls under the general rule that a defendant's
Guidelines range is “both the starting point and a
basis for his ultimate sentence.” Hughes, 138
S.Ct. at 1776. Absent “clear demonstration, based on
the record as a whole, that the court would have imposed the
same sentence regardless of the Guidelines, ” a
defendant who pleads guilty under Rule 11(c)(1)(C) is
eligible for relief under Section 3582(c)(2). Id.
the record reflects that defendant's ultimate sentence
was based in part on his Guidelines range. See
Hughes, 138 S.Ct. at 1775 (sentence pursuant to Rule
11(c)(1)(C) agreement “based on” Guidelines range
if range was part of framework court relied on in imposing
sentence or accepting agreement). Accordingly, under
Hughes and Amendment 782, defendant is eligible for
relief under Section 3582(c)(2).
A Sentence Reduction Is Warranted
Court may reduce defendant's term of imprisonment, after
considering any applicable factors set forth in Section
3553(a), if such a reduction is warranted in whole or in part
under the circumstances of the case and is consistent with
applicable Sentencing Commission policy statements. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2); Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S.
817, 827 (2010); see U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10. Among
other factors, the Court must consider the nature,
seriousness and circumstances of the offense, defendant's
history and characteristics, the need to protect the public
from further crimes by defendant and any threat to public
safety. United States v. Osborn, 679 F.3d 1193,
1195-96 (10th Cir. 2012); U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 cmt. app.
n.1(B)(ii). The Court may also consider post-sentencing
conduct. See Osborn, 679 F.3d at 1195; U.S.S.G.
§ 1B1.10 cmt. app. n.1(B)(iii). Finally, in the context
of Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreements, the Court may consider the
benefits which defendant gained under the agreement,
“for the statute permits but does not require the court
to reduce a sentence.” Hughes, 138 S.Ct. at
1777 (quoting Freeman v. United States, 564 U.S.
522, 532 (2011)).
Count 1, defendant originally had a total offense level of 33
with a criminal history category IV for a Guidelines range of
188 to 235 months. See Presentence Investigation
Report (Doc. #17) ¶ 118. Under Amendment 782,
defendant's amended Guidelines range is 151 to 188 months
(offense level 31, criminal history category IV). On Count 2,
defendant remains subject to a sentence of 60 months with
that term to be served consecutive to the term on Count 1.
See id., ¶ 119 (Guidelines term of
incarceration on Count 2 is statutory minimum of 60 months,
consecutive to Count 1). Accordingly, under Amendment 782,
the Court cannot impose an amended sentence below 211 months
(low end of Guidelines range on Count 1 plus mandatory
consecutive sentence of 60 months on Count 2). The parties
agree that an amended sentence of 211 months is appropriate.
Court has considered the nature, seriousness and
circumstances of the offense, defendant's history and
characteristics, the need to protect the public from further
crimes by defendant, any threat to public safety and
defendant's post-sentencing conduct. After balancing
these factors and considering defendant's Memorandum
Explaining Sentence Reduction (Doc. #30), the Court
finds that a sentence of 211 months in prison is sufficient
but not greater than necessary to meet all of the objectives
of federal sentencing law. The Court therefore reduces
defendant's sentence to 211 months.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2), defendant's sentence is reduced to a total of
211 months in prison (151 months on Count 1 and 60 months on
Count 2, to be served consecutively). Except as provided
above, all terms and conditions of the original Judg ...