United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REDUCE SENTENCE
L. LUDINGTON, United States District Judge.
September 15, 2008, Defendant Charles Lee Brandon pleaded
guilty to one count of distribution of five or more grams of
cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). ECF No.
31. On December 22, 2008, Defendant was sentenced to 262
months of imprisonment and eight years of supervised release.
ECF No. 37. On September 1, 2016, Defendant was granted
clemency by President Obama. ECF No. 77. The grant of
clemency commuted Defendant's term of imprisonment to 151
months of imprisonment but left intact Defendant's term
of supervised release.
April 24, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to reduce his
sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018. ECF No. 92.
On May 23, 2019, Defendant filed a stipulation that, if
accepted by the Court, would resolve the
Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established significant penalties
for the possession and distribution of crack cocaine. The
disparity between the penalties for distributing crack
cocaine and powder cocaine was 100-to-1. As the Supreme Court
observed, the Act “imposed upon an offender who dealt
in powder cocaine the same sentence it imposed upon an
offender who dealt in one-hundredth that amount of crack
cocaine.” Dorsey v. United States, 132 S.Ct.
2321, 2326 (2012).
2010, Congress enacted the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), Pub. L.
No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372, which narrowed the disparity
between sentences for crack cocaine offenders and powder
cocaine offenders. Instead of 100-to-1, it now stands at
18-to-1. In other words, the FSA imposes upon an offender who
dealt in powder cocaine the same sentence it imposes upon an
offender who dealt in one-eighteenth that amount of crack
cocaine. The FSA took effect on August 3, 2010.
other things, the FSA reduced the statutory minimum sentences
for crack cocaine offenses by increasing the quantity of
crack cocaine necessary to trigger the minimums-raising the
amount from 5 grams to 28 grams for the 5-year minimum
sentence, and from 50 grams to 280 grams for the 10-year
minimum sentence. See FSA § (2)(a). The FSA
also directed the Sentencing Commission to conform the
sentencing guidelines to the new statutory minimums.
Id. § (8)(1). The Sentencing Commission then
promulgated amendments to the guidelines, reducing the
recommended sentencing ranges to levels consistent with the
FSA. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual App. C
Amends. 750, 759 (2011).
Sixth Circuit originally concluded that the FSA's new
mandatory minimums did not affect the penalties associated
with crimes committed before the statute's effective
date. See United States v. Carradine, 621 F.3d 575,
580 (6th Cir. 2010). But with Dorsey, the Supreme
Court established that “Congress intended the
[FSA's] new, lower mandatory minimums to apply to the
post-Act sentencing of pre-Act offenders.” 132 S.Ct. at
2335. Accordingly, the FSA's amended mandatory minimums
only affected defendants sentenced after August 3, 2010.
December 21, 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act of
2018. P.L. 115-391. The law permitted the retroactive
application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and the
associated guideline ranges. Section 404 of the First Step
(a) DEFINITION OF COVERED OFFENSE.-In this section, the term
“covered offense” means a violation of a Federal
criminal statute, the statutory penalties for which were
modified by section 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
(Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372), that was committed
before August 3, 2010.
(b) DEFENDANTS PREVIOUSLY SENTENCED.-A court that imposed a
sentence for a covered offense may, on motion of the
defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the
attorney for the Government, or the court, impose a reduced
sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010 (Public Law 111- 220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at
the time the covered offense was committed.
(c) LIMITATIONS.-No court shall entertain a motion made under
this section to reduce a sentence if the sentence was
previously imposed or previously reduced in accordance with
the amendments made by sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372)
or if a previous motion made under this section to reduce the
sentence was, after the date of enactment of this Act, denied
after a complete review of the motion on the merits. ...