United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant Valentin Sanchez's pro
se Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to the First Step
Act of 2018 (Doc. 212). Sanchez asks the Court to find him
eligible for a sentence reduction following the retroactive
application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, as set forth
in the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, §
404, 132 Stat. 5194, 5222 (2018).
December 2, 2010, a jury found Sanchez guilty of conspiring
to distribute cocaine (Count 1), possessing cocaine with
intent to distribute (Count 2), and being a felon in
possession of a firearm (Count 3). At sentencing, District
Judge G. Patrick Murphydetermined that Sanchez qualified as a
career offender based on two prior felony drug convictions,
resulting in an offense level of 34 and a criminal history of
VI. His guideline range on the drug charges was 262 to 327
months (Docs. 162, 168).
March 7, 2011, Judge Murphy sentenced Sanchez as a career
offender to 262 months on Counts 1 and 2, and 120 months on
Count 3, to run concurrently. This sentence was imposed in
accordance with the 2010 Guidelines Manual, which as of
November 1, 2010, was amended to incorporate the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010. See Supplement to the 2010
U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual (Nov. 1, 2010). Sanchez
appealed, and on August 25, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court
of Appeals affirmed the judgment (Doc. 190). Sanchez
subsequently filed a Motion to Reduce Sentence based on
Amendment 782 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (Doc. 201),
which also was denied (Doc. 210).
now asks the Court to reduce his sentence in light of Section
404 of the First Step Act. Section 404 of the First Step Act
makes the provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
retroactive to defendants who committed their offenses and
were sentenced before August 3, 2010. See First Step
Act, § 404. The Act gives district courts discretion to
reduce a defendant's sentence for a crack cocaine offense
as if the sections of the Fair Sentencing Act were in effect
at the time the defendant's offense was committed.
404 of the First Step Act provides, in relevant part:
(a) DEFINITION OF COVERED OFFENSE.-In this section, the term
“covered offense” means a violation of a Federal
criminal statute, the statutory penalties for which were
modified by section 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
(Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372), that was committed
before August 3, 2010.
(b) DEFENDANTS PREVIOUSLY SENTENCED.-A court that imposed a
sentence for a covered offense may, on motion of the
defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the
attorney for the Government, or the court, impose a reduced
sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at
the time the covered offense was committed.
(c) LIMITATIONS.-No court shall entertain a motion made under
this section to reduce a sentence if the sentence was
previously imposed or previously reduced in accordance with
the amendments made by sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372)
or if a previous motion made under this section to reduce the
sentence was, after the date of enactment of this Act, denied
after a complete review of the motion on the merits. Nothing
in this section shall be construed to require a court to
reduce any sentence pursuant to this section.
not only was Sanchez sentenced after August 3, 2010, and
under the 2010 Sentencing Guidelines, which incorporated the
amendments made by the Fair Sentencing Act, but his offenses
do not involve crack cocaine. Thus, the provisions of both
the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and the First Step Act of
2018 are inapplicable. See United States v. Majors,
376 F.Supp.3d 806, 808 (M.D. Tenn. 2019) (crimes involving
powder cocaine are not within the ambit of the First Step
Act); United States v. Blocker, 378 F.Supp.3d 1125,
1132 (N.D. Fla. 2019) (“[N]othing in the Fair
Sentencing Act or First Step Act allows a sentence reduction
for a defendant whose offense involved only powder.”).
these reasons, the pro se Motion to Reduce Sentence
Pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 (Doc. 212) is
IS SO ORDERED.