United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANT LOGAN'S FIRST STEP
J. JONKER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Logan pleaded guilty to a Section 841(b)(1)(B) crack cocaine
offense in July 2009. The conviction exposed Defendant to a
mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a
maximum of forty years. Defendant was sentenced as a career
offender in October 2009 to a total term of 188 months
imprisonment. He was twenty-nine years old at the time.
matter before the Court is Defendant Logan's motion for
modification or reduction in sentence under the newly enacted
First Step Act, which provides for the retroactive
application of certain sentencing reforms contained in the
2010 Fair Sentencing Act. (ECF No. 37 &
Court appointed counsel to assist Defendant Logan with his
First Step motion. Both sides have filed briefs. The
government responds that Defendant Logan is eligible for a
reduced sentence, but it contends that no significant
reduction is warranted here. (ECF No. 43). Defendant asks for
a reduction to 151 months, the bottom end of the revised
guideline range. (ECF No. 44).
Court finds that Defendant Logan is eligible for relief under
the First Step Act, but that he is not entitled to a plenary
resentencing. Nor does the Court see any other need for a
hearing on the fully briefed issues. The Court can and does
exercise its discretion under the First Step Act to relieve
Defendant Logan of the mandatory-minimum sentence originally
applicable to his crack cocaine offense, and to reduce
Defendant Logan's sentence to 168 months as provided in
this Opinion and corresponding Order.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Defendant Logan's Charge & Plea
August 2008, officers with the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement
Team (“KVET”) were investigating a large-scale
drug-trafficking organization operating in the South Haven
and Covert, Michigan areas. As part of that investigation,
officers suspected that Anthony Smith was a drug dealer and
was a purchaser of large quantities of narcotics. On August
14, 2008, KVET officers performed a traffic stop of Mr.
Smith's vehicle while he was en route to Kalamazoo,
Michigan. The vehicle was being driven by Defendant Logan.
Officers found approximately 14 grams of crack cocaine on Mr.
Logan's person, and a small amount of marijuana on the
floor near where Mr. Smith was sitting. The vehicle was
impounded, and approximately ½ kilogram of heroin was
found in a hidden compartment under the vehicle. Mr. Smith
later told investigators that he traveled with Defendant
Logan on three or four occasions on which Defendant Logan
purchased 10 ounces of heroin from another individual.
Logan was charged in a three count Indictment on March 19,
2009. Count One charged him with conspiracy to distribute and
possess with intent to distribution 100 grams or more of
heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846; 841(a)(1);
and 841(b)(1)(B)(i). Count Two charged Defendant with aiding
and abetting Mr. Smith's possession with intent to
distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1); 841(b)(1)(B)(i), and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2. Finally, Count Three charged Defendant with
possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of
crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1); 841(b)(1)(B)(iii). (ECF No. 1).
14, 2009, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count Three of the
Indictment before the Honorable Robert Holmes Bell (ECF No.
15). There was no written plea agreement, but the government
agreed on the record during the plea to dismiss Counts One
and Two at sentencing. (ECF No. 26, PageID.67). During the
plea colloquy, Defendant Logan admitted to possession of
approximately 13 grams of crack cocaine as part of the
distribution offense. (ECF No. 26, PageID.74).
PSR & Sentencing
Final Presentence Report (PSR) prepared by the probation
officer found that Defendant Logan was responsible for 1,
623.58 kilograms of marijuana equivalent which was based on
the heroin seized from Mr. Smith's vehicle, the crack
cocaine found on Defendant's person, and based on Mr.
Smith's subsequent statement to law enforcement. (PSR
¶ 26). The quantity, in turn, triggered an initial base
offense level of 32.
adjusting downward for acceptance of responsibility,
Defendant's offense level would have been 29. The PSR
determined, however, that Defendant Logan qualified as a
career offender because he committed the offense of
conviction after sustaining two prior felony convictions for
a crime of violence and a controlled substance offense. (PSR
¶ 45). Since the statutory maximum penalty for the
offense of conviction was forty years under Section
841(b)(1)(B)(iii), the guidelines called for a career
offender offense level of 31, after adjusting for acceptance
of responsibility. See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(b)(B)
(2008). Level 31 being higher than the offense level
calculated under Section 2D1.1, the career offender offense
level took precedence and became Defendant Logan's total
offense level. (PSR ¶ 46).
officer then scored Defendant's criminal history at
thirteen points, resulting in a criminal history category of
¶ 58). The guideline range for the drug offense, based
on a total offense level of 31 and criminal history category
of VI was 188 to 235 months on the chart. (PSR ¶
October 19, 2010, Judge Bell sentenced Defendant Logan to 188
months imprisonment, the bottom end of the career offender
guideline range. (ECF No. 23). The sentence was to run
consecutive to Defendant's term of imprisonment for three
convictions in State court. (ECF No. 23). Applying the
Section 3553(a) factors, the Court concluded the sentence
“best reflects the circumstances because of the high
risk of recidivism[.]” (ECF No. 27, PageID.105). The
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed
Defendant's sentence. United States v. Logan,
No. 09-2368 (6th Cir. Aug. 26, 2011).
The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
summer of 2010 Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010, Pub L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372 (2010). The Fair
Sentencing Act reduced the sentencing disparity between crack
and powder cocaine offenses by increasing the amount of crack
cocaine needed to trigger the mandatory minimums established
in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. United States v.
Blewett, 746 F.3d 647, 649 (6th Cir. 2013) (en banc);
see also Dorsey v. United States, 567 U.S. 260,
263-64 (2012). More specifically, the Fair Sentencing Act
increased the threshold quantity in 21 U.S.C. §
851(b)(1)(A)(iii) from 50 grams or more of crack cocaine to
280 grams or more. Fair Sentencing Act at § 2(a)(1). The
Fair Sentencing Act also increased the threshold quantity in
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) from 5 grams or more of
crack cocaine to 28 grams or more. Fair Sentencing Act ...