United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR
RECONSIDERATION (DOC. 150) AND FOR REDUCTION OF SENTENCE
CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Richard Wakefield moves to reduce his sentence pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 to the United
States Sentencing Guidelines. Wakefield was convicted in 1990
of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to
distribute 48 kilograms of heroin. This drug quantity, along
with other adjustments, resulted in an offense level of 43.
The sentencing guidelines range, which was mandatory at the
time, was life imprisonment. United States District Judge
Barbara Hackett sentenced Wakefield to life on November 1,
November 1, 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission amended the
Drug Quantity Table at U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c) by reducing
the base offense level for drug quantities by two levels.
U.S.S.G., Amendment 782. This amendment was made retroactive
effective November 1, 2015. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d), (e).
As a result of this amendment, Wakefield's base offense
level was reduced from 38 to 36. His other adjustments are
unchanged, resulting in a total offense level of 42 and a
guideline range of 360 months to life.
the guideline range was lowered by a retroactive amendment,
the court may “reduce the defendant's term of
imprisonment as provided by 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2).” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a)(1). 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.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
parties agree that Wakefield is eligible for a sentence
reduction. “If a defendant is eligible for a sentence
reduction, then under step two of the inquiry the court must
consider the section 3553(a) factors and determine whether,
in its discretion, the authorized reduction is warranted
under the circumstances.” United States v.
Watkins, 625 F.3d 277, 280 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing
Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 827 (2010)).
“When determining whether a defendant should receive a
sentence reduction, the district court must
(‘shall') consider both the 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a) factors and ‘the nature and seriousness of the
danger to any person or the community that may be posed by a
reduction in the defendant's term of imprisonment,'
and ‘may consider post-sentencing conduct of the
defendant.'” United States v. Curry, 606
F.3d 323, 330 (6th Cir. 2010).
court finds that the § 3553(a) factors warrant a
reduction in Wakefield's sentence from life imprisonment
to 360 months' imprisonment. A sentence of 360 months is
substantial and continues to reflect the severity of his
offense, promote respect for the law, and provide a just
punishment. Such a sentence also provides adequate deterrence
to criminal conduct and protects the public from additional
crimes by Defendant.
personal characteristics and post-sentencing conduct further
illustrate that a sentence reduction is appropriate.
Wakefield is 73 years old and has spent almost 29 years in
prison. He suffers from health problems, including arthritis
and knee issues, and walks with the assistance of a cane. He
earned his GED in prison and has completed hundreds of hours
of classes and programming, including learning computer and
business skills. He works as an orderly, caring for sick and
elderly inmates. His record reflects no disciplinary
infractions over the past three decades.His good behavior
has allowed him to be housed at a medium security facility
even though the severity of his offense and time remaining
would otherwise place him at a high security facility.
Wakefield has maintained his relationship with his family,
including his wife of over 50 years, children, and
grandchildren, who have submitted letters to the court in his
support. ECF No. 158-1. Under the circumstances, the court
finds that a reduction in Wakefield's sentence would not
pose a danger to the community.
sentence reduction is also consistent with the Sentencing
Commission's policy statements. If Wakefield were
sentenced today, the guideline range would be 360 months to
life, rather than the mandatory life sentence he received.
See United States v. Chambers, 2018 WL 4346909 at
*1-2 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 12, 2018) (reducing life sentence to
360 months based upon Amendment 782, § 3553(a), and
applicable policy statement).
these reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's
motion for reconsideration (Doc. 150) and motion for
reduction of sentence (Doc. 145) are GRANTED. The court
imposes an amended sentence of 360 months' imprisonment
and will issue an order effectuating the sentence reduction.
 In a supplemental filing, Wakefield
noted that although his records do not reflect any
disciplinary action, he did receive infractions during his
first eight years in prison. ECF No. 158. The court
appreciates Wakefield's candor and finds that his
excellent record over the most recent twenty years outweighs
any early infractions.
 The court has carefully considered
Judge Hackett's opinion that, as a drug trafficker,
Wakefield posed a danger to the community at the time of
sentencing. However, changed circumstances, such as
Wakefield's post-sentencing conduct, advanced age, and
health problems, ...