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United States v. Taylor

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


April 20, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD LYNN TAYLOR, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on consideration of defendant Donald Lynn Taylor's prospects for a reduction of his criminal sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("U.S.S.G.") § 1B1.10. The Court appointed counsel for Taylor, and counsel has moved to withdraw on the basis that she can make no non-frivolous arguments in support of the defendant's request (Doc. 86). See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744 (1967). Neither the government nor the defendant has responded to the motion, although they were given the opportunity to do so.

Taylor was convicted by a jury of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, three counts of distribution of crack cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. At sentencing, the Court found by a preponderance of the evidence that Taylor's relevant conduct was at least 150 grams but less than 500 grams of crack cocaine, which under U.S.S.G.*fn1 § 2D1.1 yielded a base offense level of 34. No adjustments were made to that level. Considering Taylor's criminal history category of II, this yielded a sentencing range of 168 to 210 months in prison. However, because the government had filed an enhancement pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851, Taylor's statutory minimum sentence was 20 years. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Consequently, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b), his guideline sentence became 240 months. Taylor now asks the Court to apply recent changes to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 to lower his sentence.

Section 3582(c)(2) allows the Court to reduce a defendant's previously imposed sentence where "a 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)." In doing so, the Court must consider the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and must ensure that any reduction "is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission." 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Thus, a defendant urging a sentence reduction under § 3582(c)(2) must satisfy two criteria: (1) the Sentencing Commission must have lowered the applicable guideline sentencing range, and (2) the reduction must be consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission. If the defendant cannot satisfy the first criterion, the Court has no subject matter jurisdiction to consider the reduction request. United States v. Lawrence, 535 F.3d 631, 637-38 (7th Cir. 2008); see United States v. Forman, 553 F.3d 585, 588 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 129 S.Ct. 2817 (2009).

Taylor cannot satisfy the first criterion because he was not "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). Amendments 706 and 711 amended U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c) as of November 1, 2007, to lower by two points the base offense levels associated with various amounts of crack cocaine. The Sentencing Commission amended U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c) intending to alter the disparity in sentences involving crack cocaine and sentences involving powder cocaine. The amendments did not, however, reduce the sentencing range of defendants whose minimum guideline sentence was determined under U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b) based on a statutory minimum rather than under U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 based on relevant conduct amounts. See Forman, 553 F.3d at 588 ("Nothing in § 3582(c)(2) permits a court to reduce a sentence below the mandatory minimum."). Because Taylor was sentenced based on his statutory minimum sentence in accordance with U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b), not his base offense level set forth in U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, under the old and amended guidelines, his guideline sentence would have been 240 months. Thus, the amendments did not lower his guideline range, and he cannot satisfy the first criterion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for obtaining a sentence reduction.

Because Taylor cannot satisfy the first criterion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for obtaining a sentence reduction, the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider his reduction request. See Forman, 553 F.3d at 588; Lawrence, 535 F.3d at 637-38. The Court therefore GRANTS counsel's motion to withdraw (Doc. 86). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this order to defendant Donald Lynn Taylor, Reg. No. 03015-025, St. Louis CCM, Community Corrections Office, 1222 Spruce St., Suite 6.101, St Louis, Mo 63103.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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