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United States v. Shanklin

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD DIVISION


July 31, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BERNARDO SHANKLIN, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

In 2007, the United States Sentencing Commission amended the Sentencing Guidelines by reducing the sentencing ranges for crack cocaine convictions. U.S.S.G. Supplement to Appendix C, Amendment 706, eff. Nov. 1, 2007 ("Amendment"). The Amendment, which changed U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c), generally causes a two level reduction in the base offense levels applicable to crack cocaine offenders. Id. On March 3, 2008, the Amendment began applying retroactively. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10.

On May 15, 2001, Defendant Bernardo Shanklin ("Shanklin") pled guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine and cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. At sentencing on September 17, 2001, the Court adopted the pre-sentence report ("PSR"), granted the government's motion for a downward departure, and sentenced Shanklin to 144 months imprisonment. Relying on the retroactive Amendment, Shanklin filed a motion to reduce this sentence [d/e 80].*fn1

In calculating a sentence for a narcotics offense, the quantity of drug for which the defendant is held accountable determines the applicable base offense level. In originally computing Shanklin's sentence, this Court determined that his base offense level was 38, because he was accountable for 1.5 kilograms or more of cocaine base (PSR ¶ 46). At the time, this was the highest quantity classification. The PSR, however, made it clear that Shanklin was, in fact, responsible for well in excess of 4.5 kilograms of crack cocaine. (PSR ¶ 40.) While the retroactive amendment reduced the base level applicable to crack cocaine quantities between 1.5 and 4.5 kilograms, it also created a new quantity classification for amounts exceeding 4.5 kilograms. See U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(1). Defendants accountable for this quantity of crack cocaine receive a base level offense of 38. Id. Since Shanklin was accountable for more than 4.5 kilograms of cocaine base, he would, if sentenced today, again be subject to a base level offense of 38. See id. As such, the retroactive Amendment does not alter his guideline range or sentence. Therefore, his motion [d/e 80] is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

ENTERED: July 30, 2008

Judge Richard Mills United States District Judge


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