United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
L. LUDINGTON, United States District Judge.
25, 2007, an indictment was returned against Defendant
Michael Sorrell charging him with one count of conspiracy to
distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base in the form of
crack cocaine. ECF No. 1 at PageID.1.
August 17, 2007, the Government filed a Notice of Penalty
Enhancement that Defendant was previously convicted of felony
drug offenses. ECF No. 11; PSR ¶ 62. Accordingly,
Defendant would receive a sentence of life imprisonment
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §841(b)(1)(A). The parties
subsequently entered into a Rule 11 Plea Agreement which
provided that Defendant would plead guilty to the count of
conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. Defendant agreed that
he was responsible for “at least 500 grams but less
than 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine, during the life of the
conspiracy.” ECF No. 17 at 3. The Plea Agreement
further provided that
The Court must impose a sentence of Life Imprisonment on
Count One, unless the Penalty Enhancement Information, filed
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §851, is amended…If such an
amendment occurs, the court will be required to impose a
sentence of twenty years' imprisonment.
Id. at 5. The Government subsequently amended its
notice of penalty enhancement pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §
851 to reflect only one prior felony drug conviction. ECF No.
Defendant had at least two prior qualifying convictions for
controlled substance offenses, he was classified as a career
offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, and his offense level
was 37. With a three-level reduction for acceptance of
responsibility, Defendant's total offense level was 34
with a criminal history category VI, resulting in a guideline
range of 262 to 327 months. PSR ¶29, 42, 84. At the
sentencing hearing on March 18, 2010, the Court adopted the
guideline range in the presentence report and imposed a
custodial sentence of 262 months to be followed by 10 years
of supervised release. ECF No. 19.
1, 2019, Defendant filed a motion for a sentence reduction
pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018. ECF No. 29. The
government filed a response on May 29, 2019, and Defendant
filed a reply on May 31, 2019. ECF Nos. 31-32.
to Section 404(b) of the First Step Act, “a court that
imposed a sentence for a covered offense may . . . impose a
reduced sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 were in effect at the time the covered
offense was committed.” P.L. 115-391, Section 404(b).
In order to be eligible, the petitioner must have been
sentenced prior to August 3, 2010 (the date of the enactment
of the Fair Sentencing Act) for a “covered
offense” as defined in the First Step Act.
Court explained in Brown (Case No. 07-cr-20195), the
Act does not require a plenary resentencing proceeding.
See P.L. 115-391, Sec. 404(c). (“Nothing in
this section shall be construed to require a court to reduce
any sentence pursuant to this section.”). Rather,
courts have discretion to modify a sentence for eligible
Defendants in response to a motion or on the court's own
initiative. See P.L. 115-391, Section 404(b).
Although the Act does not require a plenary resentencing
proceeding, courts nevertheless consider the Section 3553(a)
factors to determine whether a sentence modification is
warranted. See e.g. United States v. Boulding, 2019
WL 2135494, at *6 (W.D. Mich. May 16, 2019); United
States v. Delaney, 2019 WL 861418, at *1 (W.D. Va. Feb.
22, 2019). Consideration of these factors is also consistent
with United States Sentencing Commission's
has a long criminal history which began at age 19. Defendant
is now 52 years old with two children ages 21 and 16. At the
time of sentencing, he had an arrearage of $19, 942.86 in
child support. He has a long substance abuse history and was
drinking 5 to 6 drinks a day for 10 years prior to his most
recent arrest. He claimed to have worked for both Steak &
Shake and later Swift Motors, but at the time of
Defendant's sentencing, neither company had reports of
ever employing Defendant.
was sentenced on May 22, 2008 for possession with intent to
distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base. Therefore, he is
eligible for a reduction under the First Step Act. Because of
his status as a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1,
Defendant's offense level and corresponding guideline
range remains unchanged after the First Step Act. His offense
level of 34 (base offense level of 37 with a 3-level
reduction for acceptance of responsibility) results in a
guideline range of 262 to 327 months. Pursuant to Section
841(b)(1)(B) of the Fair Sentencing Act (now retroactively
applicable via the First Step Act of 2018), the statutory
minimum penalty for career offenders such as Defendant who
are convicted of possession of less than 280 but more than 28
grams of cocaine base has been reduced from 20 years to 10
parties stipulate that Defendant's guideline range of 262
to 327 months has not changed, although his statutory
mandatory minimum has been reduced from 20 years to 10 years,
and his statutory minimum term of supervised release has been
reduced from 10 years to 8 years pursuant to 841(b)(1)(B).
The parties disagree as to whether, in light of ...