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United States v. Cooper

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

November 17, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JERMAINE ASKIA COOPER

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         The Defendant, Jermaine Askia Cooper, has filed a “Letter-Motion For Reduction/Modification of Supervised Release Terms & Sentence for Good Cause” [ECF No. 201]. By way of introduction, the Letter-Motion

asks that the Court consider any and all matters which have occurred subsequently to his sentencing initially or which have been overlooked, or which the USSG Guidelines amendments and changes in laws subsequently may have created “wiggle room” for the court to impose lesser and more appropriate specific sentence which is sufficient but not more than what is required to meet the purposes of punishment under the relevant laws.

(Letter-Motion 1.) The Letter-Motion presents argument related to supervised release, uncredited pretrial time, and Guideline ambiguity. On August 12, 2016, the Government filed a Response [ECF No. 204] opposing the Defendant's requested relief. The Defendant has not filed a reply.

         For the reasons stated in this Opinion, the Court finds that there is no basis upon which to modify the Defendant's sentence.

         BACKGROUND

         After a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count 7), possession and distribution of crack cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Counts 1, 3, 4, and 5), and obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) (Count 8).

         The amount of drugs involved in the Defendant's offense of conviction, as noted in the Presentence Investigation Report was determined to be 263.6 kilograms of marijuana (after conversion of multiple substances). The Guideline computation was based on the most serious offense level, in this case, the drug counts. The sentences in Counts 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 were all grouped for sentencing purposes. As a result, the Defendant's total offense level was 34, his criminal history category was V and the sentencing range was 235 to 293 months. However, the maximum sentence in Counts 1, 3, 4, and 8 was capped at 240 months. The Court sentenced the Defendant to a term of 240 months for the drug and obstruction counts, and 265 months for Count 5, which was 30 months above the low end of the Guideline sentence, and 120 months for Count 7. All counts were to run concurrent.

         On August 6, 2015, the Defendant requested a reduction of his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 [ECF No. 192]. Under the amended Guidelines, the Defendant's range of imprisonment was 188 to 235 months. The Court reduced the Defendant's sentence to 211 months for Counts 1, 3, 4, 5, and 8 [Order, ECF No. 199].

         ANALYSIS

         The Defendant's Letter-Motion presents various requests for relief. Although he does not present specific argument related to Guideline amendments, the Letter-Motion also identifies 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) as a potential source of relief. Additionally, the Defendant requests that the terms of his supervised release be revised because they were not tailored to him, or were overbroad. The Defendant also complains that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has not credited him with all the time he is due. Finally, he submits that changes brought about by the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), might apply to the Guidelines or laws under which he was sentenced.

         A. Section 3582(c)(2)

         Section 3582(c)(2) is an exception to the rule that courts have limited authority to modify a term of imprisonment once it is imposed. See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c). Subsection (c)(2) is an exception for defendants who were “sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission.” Id. § 3582(c)(2); see also United States v. Stevenson, 749 F.3d 667, 669 (7th Cir. 2014) (noting that a court may reduce a sentence under § 3582(c)(2) “if (1) the original sentence was ‘based on' a subsequently lowered sentencing range and (2) the reduction is consistent with the policy statements issued by the Commission”).

         Because the Defendant has already received a sentence reduction pursuant to § 3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782, he cannot obtain further relief under that Amendment. The Seventh Circuit has held that defendants “are not entitled to more than one opportunity to request a lower sentence, for any given change in the Guideline range” United States v. Redd, 630 F.3d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Once the district judge makes a decision, Rule 35 applies and curtails any further power of revision, unless the Commission again changes the Guidelines and makes that change, too, retroactive.”). Further, as the Government points out, § 3582 reductions are not resentencings. See Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817 (2010) (holding that judges are not required to conduct a full resentencing in response to a § 3582(c)(2) motion). Thus, the Defendant “cannot use this statute to attempt to benefit from an array of cases that were handed down after his sentencing, especially when he has not ...


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