United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. Aspen United States District Judge
before us is Defendant Mario Lloyd's motion to modify his
sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). (Mot. (Dkt.
No. 816).) Lloyd argues his sentence should be reduced based
on Amendment 782 to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which
generally lowers the base offense level for drug offenses by
two points. (Reply (Dkt. No. 821) at 1.) The government
opposes Lloyd's request. For the following reasons, we
hereby deny Lloyd's motion to modify his sentence.
underlying criminal convictions in this case involve
Lloyd's leadership of a significant cocaine distribution
network in Chicago and Milwaukee in the 1980's.
United States v. Walker, 25 F.3d 540, 543 (7th Cir.
1994). Lloyd's operation distributed hundreds of
kilograms of cocaine and generated millions of dollars in
profits that Lloyd subsequently laundered with the help of
multiple family members. Id. After a federal
investigation into Lloyd's drug dealing and money
laundering organization, on July 11, 1989, a Special Grand
Jury indicted Lloyd and multiple co-defendants, including his
mother, sister, and brother, for numerous federal crimes.
Id. at 543-44. Ultimately, in 1990, a jury found
Lloyd guilty of fifteen counts: one count of conspiracy to
distribute cocaine, six counts of distribution of cocaine,
one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise
(“CCE”), one count of conspiracy to defraud the
United States, two counts of engaging in unlawful monetary
transactions, two counts of money laundering, and two counts
of structuring monetary transactions to avoid reporting
requirements. (See Nov. 21, 1990 Judgment (Dkt. No.
820 PageID#: 277-80)); see also United States v.
Lloyd, 983 F.Supp. 738, 741 (N.D. Ill. 1997). We
sentenced Lloyd to life imprisonment and a $26 million fine,
which the Seventh Circuit upheld on direct appeal on May 31,
1994. Id. (citing Walker, 25 F.3d at 543).
October 22, 1997, we modified Lloyd's sentence when we
granted in part his pro se 28 U.S.C. § 2255
habeas corpus petition. Lloyd, 983 F.Supp. at
743-45. First, we vacated Lloyd's conviction for
conspiracy to distribute cocaine (Count 1), finding
conspiracy to distribute cocaine to be a lesser included
offense of CCE; accordingly, conviction of both offenses
violated double jeopardy. Id. at 743-44. Second, we
corrected his sentences on several counts that were
incorrectly documented in the judgment order, replacing ten
unlawful life sentences with the corresponding reduced
sentences. Id. at 744-45, n.7 (explaining the
judgment and commitment orders reflected impermissible life
sentences as “the result of a clerical error”).
To date, Lloyd is serving four life sentences in prison: one
for his CCE conviction, and three for cocaine
distribution. Since his original § 2255 petition,
Lloyd has also filed a number of collateral attacks
challenging his conviction and sentence, the details of which
are irrelevant to our analysis of Lloyd's pending motion.
See Lloyd v. United States, No. 14 C 3929, 2014 WL
5614857, *1 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2014) (summarizing Lloyd's
attempts to challenge his conviction).
pending motion, Lloyd argues he qualifies for a
reduction of his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2), which allows a court to modify an imposed
term in custody “based on a sentencing range that has
subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing
Commission.” Lloyd argues that Amendment 782 to the
sentencing guidelines reduces the base offense level for the
crimes of his conviction based on the amounts of cocaine
involved. (Reply at 1-2.) In response,  the government denies
Lloyd's sentence may be reduced under Amendment 782.
(Sur-Reply (Dkt. No. 822) at 1.)
judgment of conviction that includes [a sentence of
imprisonment] constitutes a final judgment” and may not
be modified by a district court except in limited
circumstances.” Dillon v. United States, 560
U.S. 817, 824, 130 S.Ct. 2683, 2690 (2010) (citing 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(b)); see also United States v. Howard,
No. 95 CR 508-4, 2017 WL 1427066, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 21,
2017) (slip op.) (clarifying that federal courts have
“limited authority to reduce a sentence of imprisonment
after it has been imposed”). Section 3582(c)(2)
provides one such exception to this finality is when “a
defendant . . . has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment
based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been
lowered by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2); see Dillon, 560 U.S. at 826, 130 S.Ct.
at 2691 (describing the Commission's power to amend the
guidelines). If a retroactive guidelines amendment would
result in a lower guidelines range for a defendant, after the
court considers relevant § 3553(a) factors, the court
may reduce the defendant's term of imprisonment if a
reduction is “consistent with applicable policy
statements issued by the Sentencing Commission, ” as
enacted in United States Sentencing Guideline § 1B1.10.
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). A defendant or the Director of
the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion pursuant to §
3582(c)(2), or the court can act sua sponte to
reconsider a defendant's sentence. Id. Finally,
we are “obligated to liberally construe”
Lloyd's pleadings as he is a pro se litigant.
Parker v. Four Seasons Hotels, Ltd., 845 F.3d 807,
811 (7th Cir. 2017).
argues he qualifies for a modified sentence under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3583(c)(2) because he would receive a reduced
sentencing guidelines range based on Amendment 782 to the
sentencing guidelines. The Sentencing Commission enacted
Amendment 782 to the guidelines in 2014, which generally
reduced the base offense levels assigned to most drug
quantities in the then-existing § 2D1.1 drug quantity
table by two points. See United States v. Taylor,
778 F.3d 667, 672 (7th Cir. 2015); see also United States
v. Salinas-Ospina, 622 Fed. App'x 577, 578 (7th Cir.
2015) (“Amendment 782 and § 3582(c)(2) make drug
sentences . . . more lenient.”); Howard, 2017
WL 1427066, at *2 (“Amendment 782 serves to lower the
guideline range for certain drug crimes . . . by raising the
threshold quantity that a defendant needs to
‘qualify' into a particular offense level.”).
Amendment 782 also redistributed the amounts of some
controlled substances that qualify for each offense level.
U.S.S.G. App. C, Amendment 782, at 29 (2014). Applied
retroactively through Amendment 788, the Commission passed
Amendment 782 to reset the base offense levels to correspond
with statutory mandatory minimum penalties, and to alleviate
overcrowding in federal prisons. See Id. at 71-74
(estimating Amendment 782 would reduce the imprisonment of
drug trafficking offenders sentenced under § 2D1.1 by an
average of eleven months).
first determine whether application of the Amendment 782
§ 2D1.1 drug quantity table would have reduced
Lloyd's guideline range based on the type and quantity of
drugs in Lloyd's case. See U.S.G.A. §
1B1.10(b)(1) (2016) (“In determining whether . . . a
reduction in the defendant's term of imprisonment under
18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2) and this policy statement is warranted,
the court shall determine the amended guideline range that
would have been applicable to the defendant if the
amendment to the guidelines . . . had been in effect at the
time the defendant was sentenced.”); see also
United States v. Koglin, 822 F.3d 984, 986 (7th Cir.
2016) (“[W]hat matters under § 3582(c)(2) and
§ 1B1.10 is whether the bottom-line, final range would
have been lower if the amendment had been in effect when the
defendant was sentenced.”) (internal citation omitted).
At the time of Lloyd's sentencing in 1990, we found the
relevant quantity of cocaine attributable to Lloyd for his
drug distribution convictions to be 1, 500 kilograms.
Presentence Investigative Report (“PSR”) at 1,
Worksheet A (Counts 1-8) (describing Lloyd's distribution
of cocaine offense to include “1, 500 kg
cocaine”). Based on the 1988 Sentencing Manual used at
Lloyd's sentencing,  thirty-six was the highest base offense
level for offenses involving distribution of cocaine, which
applied to defendants who distributed fifty kilograms or more
of cocaine, with no upper limit. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1
(1988). Accordingly, when Lloyd was sentenced, we found his
base and total offense levels to be thirty-six, and found
Lloyd to be in Criminal History Category I, resulting in a
sentencing range of 188-235 months imprisonment. See
PSR at 11.
on the § 2D1.1 drug quantity table enacted by Amendment
782, if Lloyd were sentenced for distribution and CCE
involving 1, 500 kilograms of cocaine, Lloyd would qualify
for the highest base offense level, thirty-eight, under
§ 2D1.1, which includes quantities of 450 kilograms or
more of cocaine. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 (2016). Between 1988
and 2014, the highest base offense level in § 2D1.1
increased from thirty-six to as high as level forty-two.
See, e.g., U.S.S.C. § 2D1.1 (1989) (increasing
the maximum base offense level to forty-two); U.S.S.C. §
2D1.1 (1994) (lowering the maximum base offense level to
thirty-eight). Accordingly, because Lloyd qualifies for the
highest base offense level in both the 1988 and Amendment 782
tables, Amendment 782 actually increased Lloyd's offense
levels and guideline range.
on Lloyd's Criminal History Category I, at the time he
was sentenced, a final offense level of thirty-six resulted
in a guidelines range of 188-235 months in custody; applying
Amendment 782, with a final offense level of thirty-eight, he
would face a guidelines range of 235-293 months.
Compare U.S.S.C. § 5.2 (1988), with
U.S.S.C. § 5.2 (2016). Because Amendment 782 results in
a higher guidelines range, Lloyd is ineligible for a sentence
reduction under § 3583(c)(2). Koglin, 822 F.3d
at 986-87 (“If the [guideline] range would not have
been lower, then the defendant is ineligible for a sentence
reduction and the inquiry ends.”); Taylor, 778
F.3d at 672 (“Relief is not available if a retroactive
amendment ‘does not have the effect of lowering the
defendant's applicable guideline range.'”)
(citing U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a)(2)(B)); Richardson v.
United States, No. 94 CR 187-1, 2016 WL 3907071, at *1
(N.D. Ill. July 19, 2016) (finding a modification of sentence
“not authorized” where defendant's guidelines
sentencing range for distribution of heroin and cocaine
remained the same after Amendment 782).
Amendment 782 resulted in a lower sentencing range for Lloyd,
we continue to find a lifetime sentence appropriate for
Lloyd's offenses after considering 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a) factors. Dillon, 560 U.S. at 827, 130 S.Ct.
at 2692 (“At step two of the inquiry, § 3582(c)(2)
instructs a court to consider any applicable § 3553(a)
factors and determine whether, in its discretion, the
reduction authorized . . . is warranted in whole or in part
under the particular circumstances of the case.”);
see also United States v. Young, 555 F.3d 611, 614
(7th Cir. 2009) (directing that “sentence modifications
under § 3582(c)(2)” are “ultimately
entrusted to the sound discretion of the district
court”). We sentenced Lloyd to periods of incarceration
above the guidelines range for his cocaine distribution
offenses. At that time, we found the significant
aggravating circumstances in this case merited a life
sentence, considering the substantial quantity of cocaine
involved and Lloyd's recruitment of others into his
network, including Lloyd's corruption his own family
members. See Walker, 25 F.3d at 23-25 (finding no
mistake in our upward departure to a life sentence
considering the facts underlying Lloyd's conviction).
Considering these aggravating circumstances, even if
Amendment 782 reduced Lloyd's guidelines range, we would
decline to modify Lloyd's sentence based ...