United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR RETROACTIVE APPLICATION OF SENTENCING GUIDELINES (DKT.
Mark A. Goldsmith, Judge
Deshon Catchings pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with
intent to distribute and to distribute more than five
kilograms of cocaine, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
(b)(1)(A), and 846; and structuring, 31 U.S.C. §
5324(a)(3). He was sentenced to a total of 151 months'
imprisonment - 151 months on the conspiracy count, and sixty
months on the structuring count, to run concurrently with the
conspiracy. 3/8/2013 Judgment (Dkt. 145). Catchings filed the
instant motion asking the Court to reduce his sentence from
151 months to 120 months. For the reasons that follow,
Catchings' motion is denied.
was sentenced, Catchings' base offense level on the
conspiracy count was 32. As set forth in the Presentence
Investigation Report (“PSR”), the probation
department recommended a two-level enhancement for possession
of a firearm, a two-level enhancement for maintaining a
premise for the purposes of manufacturing or distributing a
controlled substance, and a two-level enhancement for his
role in the offense, such that Catchings' adjusted
offense level would be 38. The adjusted offense level on his
structuring count was 18, resulting in a combined adjusted
offense level of 38. After accounting for downward departures
for acceptance of responsibility, Catchings' total
offense level was 35; with a criminal history category of II,
his guideline range would be 188 to 235 months on the
conspiracy count and sixty months, the statutory maximum, on
the structuring count.
O'Meara adopted the Presentence Investigation Report, and
determined that Catchings' offense level was 35, his
criminal history category was II, and his guideline range was
188 to 235 months. However, Catchings entered into a Rule
11(c) plea agreement with the Government, pursuant to which
the Government agreed to recommend a sentence of 151 months.
Plea Agreement at 6 (Dkt. 105). The Court accepted the plea
agreement and imposed such sentence, acknowledging that it
was below the advisory guideline range.
now argues that he is entitled to relief pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c), which allows the court to reduce the
term of imprisonment “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 . . . if such a reduction is consistent
with applicable policy statement issued by the Sentencing
Commission.” Catchings points out that the Sentencing
Commission retroactively reduced by two levels the offense
levels assigned to certain drug quantities. As such, says
Catchings, his base offense level on the conspiracy count
should have been 30. He claims that this would result in a
final offense level of 31 and a corresponding a guideline
range of 121 to 151 months. Def. Mot. at 11.
Government responds that Catchings' amended guideline
range, after accounting for the drugs-minus-two amendment,
would be 151 to 188 months. Gov't Resp. at 4. The
Government argues that relief can only be granted pursuant to
§ 3582(c)(2) if it is consistent with applicable
Sentencing Commission policy statements, and the Sentencing
Guidelines prohibit the district court from reducing a
defendant's term below the minimum of the amended
Catchings' sentence is already at the minimum of the
Guideline range, says the Government, the Court cannot lower
it any further.
Government is correct. Pursuant to § 3582,
[I]n 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), . . . the court may reduce the
term of imprisonment . . . if such a reduction is consistent
with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The Sentencing Commission's
policy statement provides that “the court shall not
reduce the defendant's term of imprisonment under 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and this policy statement to a term
that is less than the minimum of the amended guideline
range[.]” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(2)(A). Thus,
Catchings' sentence cannot be reduced below the minimum
of his new guideline range. Further, the Court is to
substitute only the amended guideline range while
“leav[ing] all other guideline application decisions
unaffected.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(1).
argues that his new range is 121-151 months, based on an
offense level of 31. However, as discussed above, although
the parties agreed to a lower sentence of 151 months, Judge
O'Meara calculated Catchings' guideline range to be
between 188-235 months, based on an offense level of 35 - and
that guideline application decision must remain unaffected
under U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(b)(1) as the level from which
the two-level deduction is made.
also argues that he is entitled to relief under Hughes v.
United States, 138 S.Ct. 1765 (2018), but
Hughes concerned how to determine whether a
defendant's sentence is “based on” the
Guidelines sentencing range. It did not discuss the policy
statement prohibiting reduction below the minimum of the
amended guideline range.
even with the downward adjustment for Amendment 782,
Catchings' offense level of 33 warrants a sentence of
151-188 months under the Guidelines. Because the Court cannot
reduce Catchings' term of imprisonment to one that is
less than the ...