United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Castillo, United States District Court Chief Judge
Claiborne ("Defendant") moves for a modification of
his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). (R. 2094,
Mot.) For the following reasons, the motion is denied.
late 1980s and early 1990s, Defendant "was the leader of
a drug distribution business operating out of Chicago,
Illinois and Gary, Indiana." United States v.
Claiborne, 62 F.3d 897, 899 (7th Cir. 1995). In 1993, he
was tried and convicted of 20 drug-related offenses,
including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
cocaine, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise,
possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and money
laundering. (R. 2098-1, Presentence Report ("PSR")
at 3, 7-8.) At sentencing, District Judge G. Thomas
Eisele of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Arkansas, sitting by designation, held Defendant
responsible for distribution of 45 kilograms of crack
cocaine. Claiborne, 62 F.3d at 901. He was sentenced
to five concurrent life terms in addition to statutory
maximum terms for the other counts, which were to run
concurrent with his life sentences. Id. at 899. He
raised various arguments on appeal, including challenging
Judge Eisele's drug calculations. Id. at
900-901. In 1995, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh
Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence in all respects.
Id. 900-02. Some 20 years later, Defendant filed the
present motion seeking a reduction in his sentence based on
changes made to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines reducing the
penalties for certain drug offenses in the years since his
conviction. See U.S.S.G. § IB 1.10(d);
id., Suppl. to App'x C, amends. 750, 782.
Court has limited authority to modify a criminal sentence
after it is imposed. See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(b),
(c); Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 824-25
(2010). However, a sentence may be modified where the
defendant was "sentenced to a term of imprisonment based
on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by
the Sentencing Commission, " provided that the reduction
is "consistent with applicable policy statements issued
by the Sentencing Commission." 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2). A reduction is not authorized under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2), and is not consistent with the applicable
policy statements, if the amendment would not have the effect
of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline range.
See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10, Application Note 1 (A).
In determining whether a defendant's guideline range has
been lowered, the Court applies any retroactive amendments
while leaving all other guidelines calculations intact.
See U.S.S.G. § IB 1.10(b); United States v.
White, 621 F.App'x 356, 358 (7th Cir.2015).
review, the changes to the Sentencing Guidelines do not have
the effect of lowering Defendant's guideline range. At
sentencing, the PSR calculated Defendant's base offense
level on the conspiracy and other drug-related counts (which
were grouped for sentencing purposes) at 42, given the amount
of drugs involved. (R. 2098-1, PSR at 8.) The court imposed a
two-level enhancement for using a firearm in the commission
of the offense, a four-level enhancement for his leadership
role in the drug operation, and a two-level enhancement for
obstruction of justice, resulting in an adjusted offense
level of 50. (Id. at 10.) Combined with a criminal
history category of I, this yielded a guideline range of
life. (Mat 22.)
the revised drug quantity table, an offense involving 25.2
kilograms or more of crack cocaine (as Defendant's did)
carries an offense level of 38. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(1),
An offense level of 38, combined with the eight enhancement
points that were imposed at sentencing (and which remain in
place pursuant to § IB 1.10(b)), results in an adjusted
offense level of 46. That offense level coupled with a
criminal history category of I yields a guideline range of
life- the sentence Defendant is already serving. See
U.S.S.G. Ch. 5, Pt. A (Sentencing Table), Application Note 2;
see also United States v. Swggs, No. 2:01 CR 98,
2011 WL 13117415, at *1 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 24, 2011) (denying
motion for modification of sentence based on retroactive
amendments pertaining to crack cocaine offenses, where
defendant's "offense level, 46 . .. corresponds to a
guideline range of incarceration for life. Assuming that his
base offense level is reduced by 2 as a result of the
amendments makes no ultimate difference: his revised adjusted
offense level would be 44, and his guideline range remains
life."). Because Defendant's guideline range has not
been lowered by the amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines,
the Court has no authority to reduce his sentence as he
these reasons, Defendant's motion for modification of his
sentence (R. 2094) is . DENIED.
Defendant's case was reassigned to
this Court in 2001.
 After Defendant filed his pro
se motion, an attorney from the Office of the Federal
Defender filed an appearance on his behalf pursuant to
General Order 14-0023. (R. 2097, Appearance.) Counsel has
since filed a document stating that she reviewed
Defendant's pro se motion and the
government's response and "has nothing to file in
addition or in reply at this time." (R. 2099, Reply at
 The Court notes that the age of this
case, and the lack of access to some of the original
sentencing documents, has posed some challenges. The PSR and
offense level worksheet submitted by the government reflect
that Defendant's base offense level was calculated at 42.
(R. 2098-1, PSR at 8; id., Worksheet at 69.) In its
brief the government suggests that Defendant's base
offense level was calculated at 38. (R. 2098, Resp. at 8.)
But the difference has no effect on the outcome of
Defendant's motion. The lower number, combined with the
sentencing enhancements, yields an adjusted offense level of
46. The higher number plus the enhancements yields an
adjusted offense level of 50. Both of these offense levels
are treated as a level 43, which is the highest listed
offense level in the Sentencing Table. See U.S.S.G.
Ch. 5, Pt. A, Application Note 2. There is also some
discrepancy in the record as to the amount of drugs that were
attributed to Defendant; the PSR calculated it at more than
108 kilograms of cocaine base and 391 kilogramsof powder
cocaine. (R. 2098-1, PSR at 8.) At one point the Seventh
Circuit's opinion suggests that Judge Eisele agreed with
these amounts, but elsewhere it suggests that the judge
attributed 45 kilograms of crack cocaine to Defendant.
Claiborne, 62 F.3d at 900-01. This ...