United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendant's motion for
sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2)
and Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
A hearing on the motion was held before the undersigned on
March 21, 2018, at Raleigh, North Carolina. For the reasons
that follow, defendant's motion is denied.
1996, defendant Jones was convicted by a jury of cocaine
trafficking charges and was subsequently sentenced to a term
of 360 months' imprisonment. Jones' presentence
report held him accountable for 26.3 kilograms of cocaine
base and 79 kilograms of cocaine, resulting in a base offense
level of 38. The Court adopted the factual findings and
Guideline application of the presentence report except that
the Court ruled that the adjustment for role in the offense
would be a two-level enhancement which lowered the total
offense level to a 40 as opposed to 41 as originally
calculated by the probation office.
previously sought a § 3582(c)(2) sentence reduction
under Amendment 706 to the Sentencing Guidelines, which was
denied. The court of appeals affirmed this Court's denial
of a sentence reduction, holding that its "review of the
record convinces us that the district court did not abuse its
discretion by concluding that, at Jones' original
sentencing, it implicitly adopted the drug amounts in the
presentence report (including 26.3 kilograms of crack
cocaine)." United States v. Jones, 388
Fed.Appx. 314, 315 (4th Cir. 2010).
argues that he is eligible for a reduction in his sentence
because the Court failed, at the original sentencing hearing,
to rule on his objection to a quantity of cocaine attributed
to him by Rickie Draper. Trial testimony established that 55
kilograms of powder cocaine and 160.1 grams of cocaine base
were attributable to Jones, resulting in a base offense level
of 36. The presentence report recommended that Jones also be
held accountable for additional drugs based on a statement by
Draper. Jones argued at sentencing that he had been in jail
for 111 days during the period of time he was alleged to have
been dealing with Draper, and that thus he could not be held
responsible for the total amount of drugs attributed to him
by Draper. Jones now argues that the Court did not rule on
his Draper-drugs objection because it was not necessary, as
the Court's ruling that Jones was accountable for at
least 1.5 kilograms and probably a significant amount more
would have been sufficient to reach a base offense level of
38 at the time of sentencing. If his current objection to the
quantity of drugs attributed to him by Draper is sustained,
Jones contends his base offense level would be 36 as opposed
to 38 and that he would be eligible for a reduction in his
"may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been
imposed except" under limited circumstances. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c). One of those circumstances is where the
defendant "has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment
based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been
lowered by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 994(o) . . .." 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2);
see also U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a). When determining
whether an amendment to the Guidelines lowers a
defendant's applicable Guidelines range, a court should
substitute the amendment for the corresponding Guidelines
provisions that were applied when the defendant was
originally sentenced, leaving all other Guidelines
application decisions in place. See United States v.
Bornales, 639 Fed.Appx. 169, 170 (4th Cir. 2016) (citing
United States v. Lindsey, 556 F.3d 238, 244 (4th
Cir.2009). Courts are permitted to "make additional
findings on the drug quantities attributable to defendants in
§ 3582(c)(2) proceedings. Such findings must be
supported by the record and consistent with earlier
findings." United States v. Peters, 843 F.3d
572, 577 (4th Cir. 2016), cert, denied, 137 S.Ct.
2267 (2017). Indeed, a court may be required to make such
additional findings where at the original sentencing hearing
it found a defendant to be accountable for at least an amount
sufficient to achieve a certain base offense level, but did
not make a specific drug quantity finding. Id.
however, the Court, by its adoption of the presentence
report, implicitly found that Jones was accountable for 26.3
kilograms of cocaine base. The Court so held when denying
Jones' prior motion for reduction under § 3582,
see [DE 432], and the court of appeals has affirmed
this ruling. 388 Fed.Appx. at 315. Jones is therefore
ineligible for a reduction in sentence because Amendment 782
does not have the effect of lowering his Guidelines range, as
his base offense level remains a 38.
these reasons, defendant's motion for reduction of
sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582 and ...