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United States v. Teague

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 11, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLEN J. TEAGUE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon, Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         On December 22, 2015, defendant filed a pro se motion seeking a reduction in his sentence based on Amendment 782 and the retroactive drug quantity guidelines (Doc. 70). Pursuant to this Court's protocol, the matter was referred to the federal public defender (Doc. 71). Thereafter, the federal public defender entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant and filed an amended motion to reduce sentence on the defendant's behalf (Doc. 76 and 77). The government opposes the motion to reduce (Doc. 79). Based on the record and the following, the Court DENIES the motion to reduce sentence.

         BACKGROUND

         On September 19, 2013, Teague was charged by Indictment with two counts of Distribution of Cocaine Base. On February 7, 2013, absent a plea agreement, the defendant pleaded guilty (Doc. 39 ¶ 5). The United States Probation Office (USPO) determined that the defendant's Guidelines Offense Level was 34, and combined with a Criminal History Category of VI, the Guidelines sentencing range was 262-327 month's imprisonment (Doc. 39 ¶ 86). This calculation was based upon the defendant's classification as a Career Offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 (Doc. 39 ¶¶ 30, 43). Had the defendant not been classified as a Career Offender, his Guidelines Offense Level would have been 20 and his Criminal History Category would have been V, for a Guidelines sentencing range of 63-78 months' imprisonment (Doc. 65).

         A sentencing hearing was held on September 6, 2013 (Doc. 65). The Court adopted the findings of the probation officer in the presentence report following arguments of counsel relative to objections filed by the defendant. Id. Following the hearing, the Court issued a Sentencing Memorandum. The Court concluded the Career Offender guideline range was applicable to the defendant, remarking as follows:

At the sentencing hearing, there was vigorous argument regarding the guideline calculation in this case. Ultimately the Court found that the correct calculation and application of the guideline manual included an enhancement for obstruction of justice, as heretofore mentioned, no reduction for acceptance of responsibility in correspondence with that same conduct, and the simple application of the career offender treatment based on past qualifying convictions.

(Doc. 65 p. 9).[1]

         Despite the applicability of the Career Offender guideline, the Court concluded the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) warranted imposition of a lower sentence. Considering these factors, the Court explained it could not “accept the advice of the Sentencing Commission” because the defendant “is not the kind of defendant for which [the career offender] label is intended to be applied or if he is, the Court reject[ed] that application outright.” (Doc. 65 p. 16). Using the Guidelines sentencing range which would have applied but for the Career Offender classification as a reference point, the Court concluded a sentence of 78 months' imprisonment was appropriate and further explained as follows:

The Court finds this sentence will properly account for the seriousness of the instant offense, promote respect for the law in someone who has spent little too little time in each of his prior prison incarcerations, will provide just punishment for his crime while sending an appropriate message of deterrence to the defendant and others, and protect the public.
What it does not do is presume that just because Mr. Teague barely fits the technical requirements of a career offender label, and even though he only works day in day out as a petty criminal, that the guideline sentence of decades in jail is reasonable for a low level dealer like him. What it does not do is impose a sentence greater than necessary in direct contradiction to the statutory directive to this Court.

(Doc. 65 pp. 17-18).

         Thereafter, on December 3, 2013, the defendant was sentenced to 78 ...


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