United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on defendant Benjamin Barry
Kramer's pro se motion 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 (Doc. 1058).
October 4, 1988, a jury found Kramer guilty of one count of
participating as a principal administrator, organizer, or
leader in a continuing criminal enterprise
(“CCE”) and one count of conspiracy to distribute
marihuana. The Court sentenced Kramer to serve life in prison
for the CCE conviction and 40 years for the conspiracy
conviction. The Court did not apply the sentencing guidelines
when it imposed the sentence because Kramer committed his
crimes before the sentencing guidelines became effective.
See U.S.S.G. Pt. A.1 (1987) (sentencing guidelines
take effect automatically on November 1, 1987). It imposed
the statutory mandatory sentence of life in prison without
the possibility of parole for the CCE conviction,
see 21 U.S.C. § 848(b) (1987), and a 40-year
concurrent sentence for the conspiracy conviction,
see 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) & 846 (1987).
The Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence, see United
States v. Kramer, 955 F.2d 479 (7th Cir. 1992), and the
United States Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of
certiorari, see Kramer v. United States,
506 U.S. 998 (1992). On March 6, 1998, the Court vacated the
40-year conspiracy sentence, see Kramer v. United
States, No. 97-cv-4117-JLF (S.D. Ill.), leaving the CCE
life sentence in place.
defendant now asks the Court to apply recent changes to
U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 to lower his sentence. Amendment 782
amended U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c) as of November 1, 2014, to
lower some base offense levels associated with various
relevant conduct drug amounts. The relevant parts of
Amendment 782 are retroactive but did not become
retroactively effective until November 1, 2015. See
U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d) & (e)(1) (2014).
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 an amendment does not lower
the defendant's applicable guideline range, the Court
must deny a sentence reduction on the merits. United
States v. Taylor, 778 F.3d 667, 672 (7th Cir. 2015).
is not eligible for a reduction because he was not sentenced
under the sentencing guidelines. First, § 3582(c)(2)
authorizing reductions based on retroactive guideline
amendments does not apply to Kramer. It was enacted as part
of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-473,
Title II, Ch. II, § 212(a), 98 Stat. 1837, 1987,
1998-99, which only applies to offenses committed after
November 1, 1987, see Sentencing Act of 1987, Pub.
L. No. 100-182, § 2, 101 Stat. 1266; Sentencing Reform
Act of 1984 § 235, 98 Stat. at 2031-32, as amended
by Sentencing Reform Amendments Act of 1985, Pub. L. No.
99-217, § 4, 99 Stat. 1728; Gozlon-Peretz v. United
States, 498 U.S. 395, 398, 400 n. 4 (1991); United
States v. Stewart, 865 F.2d 115, 118 (7th Cir. 1988)
(“[T]he Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 did not apply to
defendants whose offenses were committed prior to November 1,
1987.”). Thus, defendants like Kramer who committed
their crimes before November 1, 1987, and were not sentenced
under the sentencing guidelines are not eligible for sentence
reductions under § 3582(c)(2). United States v.
Wilkins, 426 F. App'x 443, 445-46 (6th Cir. 2011).
even if § 3582(c)(2) could apply to Kramer, it is
impossible for him to satisfy the first criterion for a
reduction 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). Kramer was not sentenced based on a sentencing
guideline range at all but on a statutory mandatory minimum
sentence in a pre-guideline world. That statutory mandatory
minimum sentence has not been lowered. Since Kramer was not
sentenced based on a sentencing range that has subsequently
been lowered by the Sentencing Commission, he would not be
eligible for a reduction under § 3582(c)(2), even if
that statute applied to him.
Kramer is not eligible for a sentence reduction under 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), the Court DENIES