United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the defendant's motion
for a reduction of his criminal sentence. He cites two
reasons the Court should reduce his sentence: (1) the
retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010,
Pub. L. 111-220; §§ 2-3, 124 Stat. 2372, 2372
(2010), as set forth in the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L.
No. 115-391, § 404, 132 Stat. 5194, 5222 (2018), and (2)
recent changed societal views about marihuana (Docs. 1069,
1070 & 1072).
Motion Pursuant to First Step Act
Court construes this portion of Kramer's motion as
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B).
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”) to import, distribute, and possess with
intent to distribute marihuana and one count of conspiracy to
distribute marihuana. District Judge James L. Foreman
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, the
statutory maximum, 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 reduce his sentence in light
of § 404 of the First Step Act. Section 404 allows the Court
to reduce a defendant's sentence for a crack cocaine
offense, but only if the Court had imposed that sentence
before another statute-the Fair Sentencing Act-modified the
statutory sentencing range for that crack cocaine offense.
First Step Act, § 404(b). In essence, the First Step Act
retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act's lower
statutory sentencing ranges and allows the Court to bring
past sentences into line with the lower ranges. The authority
to reduce a sentence applies only to (1) federal offenses (2)
committed before August 3, 2010, the effective date of the
Fair Sentencing Act, (3) for which the Fair Sentencing Act
changed the statutory penalty range, i.e., certain
crack cocaine offenses. See First Step Act, §
404(a). Whether to reduce a sentence is at the discretion of
the Court and is not required by the First Step Act. First
Step Act, § 404(c). In sum, the Court now may, but is
not required to, reduce a defendant's sentence if
application of a statutory range changed by the Fair
Sentencing Act would have resulted in a sentence lower than
the defendant's original sentence.
defendant's conviction is not the type of conviction
covered by § 404 of the First Step Act. While he
committed the federal offense before August 3, 2010, the Fair
Sentencing Act did not modify the applicable statutory
sentencing range for the defendant's crime. On the
contrary, it only changed the statutory penalty range for
certain crack cocaine offenses, Fair Sentencing Act, §
2(a) (codified at 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) &
(b)(1)(B)(iii)), and the defendant was not convicted of any
crack cocaine offense. For this reason, the First Step Act
does not authorize a reduction in the defendant's
the Court will deny the defendant's motion for a sentence
reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B) based on
the First Step Act's retroactive application of the Fair
Sentencing Act (Docs. 1069, 1070 & 1072).
Motion for Reduction Because of Changing Societal
also asks the Court to reduce his sentence because his crime
involved marihuana, and society's views on marihuana have
substantially changed in recent years, with some
jurisdictions legalizing the recreational use of marihuana.
The Court construes this as a motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(1)(A), which allows a court to modify a
defendant's sentence for “extraordinary and
compelling reasons” after considering the factors set
forth in § 3553(a). The Court must also find that the
reduction is consistent with the applicable United States
Guidelines Manual's (“U.S.S.G.”) policy
statement, in this case, U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13. That policy
statement further requires the Court to find the defendant is
not a danger to the safety of others or to the community.
has not set forth “extraordinary and compelling
reasons” that the Court finds would justify a sentence
modification. To the extent the determination of what is
“extraordinary and compelling” still relies on
the policy statement in U.S.S.G. 1B1.13, Kramer has not
established any of the acceptable reasons listed in
Commentary Note 1-medical condition, age, family
circumstances, or other reasons as determined by the Bureau
of Prisons. To the extent the Court is not bound, but merely
guided, by the policy statement, see United States v.
Cantu, 1:05-CR-458-1, 2019 WL 2498923, *3-5 (S.D. Tex.
June 17, 2019) (finding guideline policy statement outdated
in light of the First Step Act), the Court finds Kramer's
vague references to changing attitudes toward marihuana,
especially where those changes are not reflected in federal
legislation, do not amount to “extraordinary and
compelling reasons” for a reduction.
this reason, the Court will deny Kramer's motion for a
sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)
based on “extraordinary and compelling reasons.”
foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES
Kramer's motion for a sentence reduction (Docs. 1069,
1070 & 1072). This ruling renders MOOT