Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States of America v. Maurice Morris

August 1, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MAURICE MORRIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on pro se Petitioner Maurice Morris's ("Morris") motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the following reasons, Morris's motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

On December 4, 2008, Morris was indicted for knowingly and intentionally distributing 61.1 grams of crack cocaine in violation of the Controlled Substances Act ("CSA"), 21 § U.S.C. 841(a)(1). On January 13, 2011, Morris pled guilty to the charged offense without a plea agreement. The probation officer's pre-sentence investigation report ("PSIR") calculated Morris's base offense level at 37, subject to a three level reduction for his substantial cooperation with the government, for a total offense level of 34. This offense level, coupled with a criminal history category of VI, yielded a guidelines range of 262 to 327 months imprisonment.

On April 20, 2011, the Court held a sentencing hearing and accepted the guidelines calculations as provided in the PSIR. After considering the factors provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3553, the Court sentenced Morris to a term of 120 months imprisonment, which was the mandatory minimum sentence allowable under the CSA. Morris's sentence represented a significant downward departure from the sentencing guidelines.

Morris now seeks to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

LEGAL STANDARD

A prisoner may bring a habeas petition under Section 2255 if he believes that his sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. A court limits habeas relief to a constitutional or jurisdictional error, or a fundamental defect that results in a complete miscarriage of justice. Bischel v. United States, 32 F.3d 259, 263 (7th Cir. 1994). When reviewing the evidence in a Section 2255 petition, the court draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the government. Carnine v. United States, 974 F.2d 924, 928 (7th Cir. 1992).

DISCUSSION

Morris asserts two grounds in support of his habeas petition. First, Morris maintains that his sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law. Second, he claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

I. Sentence In Excess of Maximum Authorized by Law

Morris maintains that the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (the "FSA"), Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372-2375, warrants a reduction in his sentence. The FSA, effective August 3, 2010, minimized the disparity between the sentencing for cocaine- and crack-related offenses. Id. at 2372-73. In particular, the FSA reduced the maximum and minimum statutory penalties for the crack-related offenses proscribed by the CSA. Additionally, the Act required the United States Sentencing Commission (the "Sentencing Commission") to amend the guidelines to conform to the statute's provisions.Id. at 2374. The Sentencing Commission responded by implementing Amendments 748 and 750, which modified the Drug Quantity Table in Section 2D1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines.*fn1 See United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("U.S.S.G."), App. C, Vol. III at 374-81, 391-98 (2011).

Morris maintains that he is entitled to a reduction in his sentence based on (1) Amendment 750. and (2) the reduced penalties in the FSA.

A district court retains "limited power to revisit sentences once they are imposed." United States v. Goode, 342 F.3d 741, 743 (7th Cir. 2003). However, a court may modify a sentence where (1) the sentencing range "has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission," and (2) "such a reduction is consistent with the applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission." 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2); United States v. Forman, 553 F.3d 585, 588 (7th Cir. 2009); U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a)(2)(B). If the sentencing range has ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.