The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:
Methamphetamine — revisited.
And a mandatory minimum sentence.
This cause is before the Court on Defendant's Motion Under
28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence.
This is the Court's preliminary consideration of this matter
pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Proceedings in the
United States District Courts Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which
provides: "If it plainly appears from the face of the motion
and any annexed exhibits and the prior proceedings in the case
that the movant is not entitled to relief in district court,
the judge shall make an order for its summary dismissal and
cause the movant to be notified."
This case concerns whether Blankenship was prejudiced by the
Court's failure to specifically find, at the time of
sentencing, that the offense involved d- rather than
l-methamphetamine. Although framed in terms of ineffective
assistance of counsel (a Sixth Amendment claim) the crux of
this case is the relationship of statutes and the Sentencing
For several years, the Sentencing Guidelines allowed different
sentences depending upon which isomer of methamphetamine was
involved in a criminal offense. The statute that imposes
mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses, however,
treats the isomers identically.
Blankenship claims that he should have received the benefit of
the Guidelines' approach to methamphetamine sentencing. He is
unable to show that he was prejudiced, however, because this
Court complied with the mandatory-minimum statute.
Defendant Robert Blankenship was found guilty by a jury of the
sole count of the indictment, which charged that he violated
21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846 by participating in a conspiracy
involving more than 100 grams of methamphetamine or more than
one kilogram of a mixture containing methamphetamine.*fn1
At sentencing, the Court found Blankenship responsible for
1.817235 kilograms of methamphetamine and sentenced him to the
mandatory minimum of 120 months. Blankenship's attorney
objected to the computation of drug amounts in the Presentence
Investigation Report, but he did not challenge the application
of the mandatory minimum. Blankenship appealed his conviction
but did not raise any of the arguments he raises in the instant
B. Methamphetamine Sentencing
The impact of the distinction between two forms of the drug
known as methamphetamine has been the subject of much
litigation. Defendants have raised a variety of creative
arguments for why their sentences for crimes involving
methamphetamine should be shortened. The reason for the recent
flurry of litigation is the confusing way the Sentencing
Commission chose to deal with methamphetamine. See United
States v. Cook, 49 F.3d 663, 665 n. 3 (10th ...