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United States v. Cook

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


July 7, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTIONE D. COOK, 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 Antione D. Cook'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 Cook, 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. 70). See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744 (1967). The government has responded to the motions (Doc. 72). The Court gave Cook an opportunity to respond to counsel's motion, but he declined to do so.

Cook pled guilty to conspiring to distribute 5 grams or more of crack cocaine. At sentencing, the Court found by a preponderance of the evidence that Cook's relevant conduct was at least 50 grams but less than 150 grams of crack cocaine, which under United States Sentencing Guideline Manual*fn1 ("U.S.S.G.") § 2D1.1 yielded a base offense level of 32. His offense level was reduced by three points under U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1 for acceptance of responsibility. Considering Cook's criminal history category of II, this yielded a sentencing range of 97 to 121 months in prison. However, because Cook's relevant conduct was more than 50 grams, his statutory minimum sentence was 10 years. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Consequently, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(c)(2), his effective guideline range became 120 to 121 months. Cook 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).

Cook 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(c)(2) 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 Cook was sentenced based on his statutory minimum sentence in accordance with U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(c)(2), not his base offense level set forth in U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, under the old and amended guidelines, the low end of his guideline range would have been 120 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 Cook 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 a 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. 70). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this order to defendant Antione D. Cook, Reg. No. 05865-025, Yazoo City FCI, P.O. Box 5000, Yazoo City, MS 39194.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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