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United States v. Young

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 19, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
TERRY YOUNG,

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, JUDGE

         Petitioner Terry Young brings a Motion for Relief Under the First Step Act (Dkt. No. 1164). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is granted. Young shall be immediately released from custody. His five-year period of supervised release shall stand.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Terry Young's incarceration is the result of his obtaining and distributing drugs for the Traveling Vice Lords gang. On April 13, 1998, a jury convicted Young of three offenses: (1) conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) ("Count One"); (2) possession with intent to deliver narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a) (1) ("Count Two"); and (3) money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) ("Count Fourteen"). The jury did not return a special verdict with respect to the quantity of drugs involved in Counts One and Two. The sentencing court originally sentenced Young to life in prison on Counts One and Two, and 240 months' imprisonment on Count Fourteen, to run concurrently. (See Aug. 8, 2005, Am. Crim. J. at 7, Dkt. No. 1000.) On remand from the Seventh Circuit, United States v. Mansoori, 304 F.3d 635 (7th Cir. 2002), the sentencing court reduced Young's sentence on Count Two from life to 20 years' imprisonment, while keeping intact the life term on Count One and 240 months on Count Fourteen. (See Aug. 8, 2005, Am. Crim. J.). Young's sentences are set to run concurrently, with a five-year period of supervised release to follow. (Id.)

         In 2014, the Executive Committee transferred Young and his co-defendants' criminal cases to this Court. In 2016, Young and the Government jointly moved to reduce his sentence on Count One from life to 360 months, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). (See Joint Mot. to Reduce Sentence, Dkt. No. 1101.) This Court granted that motion, leaving the other conditions of Young's sentencing intact. (See § 3582(c)(2) Order, Dkt. No. 1107.) Young has been in federal custody for nearly 23 years, and therefore has finished serving his concurrent 20-year sentence on Count Two and his 240-month sentence on Count Fourteen. All that remains is his 360-month sentence on conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver narcotics.

         Young now moves to reduce his sentence pursuant to the First Step Act, Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018). Young requests that the Court reduce his sentence to time served. The Court granted a similar motion from one of Young's co-defendant's on December 9, 2019. United States v. Mansoori, No. 97 CR 63-9, 2019 WL 6700166, at *1 (N.D. 111. Dec. 9, 2019).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         In 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced sentencing disparities between offenses involving crack and powder cocaine. Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372 (2010). The First Step Act effectively makes certain provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, though relief under the First Step Act is discretionary. Pub. L. No. 115-391 § 404(c). The First Step Act limits eligibility to "covered offenses"-that is, 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, that was committed before August 3, 2010. See Pub. L. No. 115-391 § 404. The Fair Sentencing Act raised the amount of crack cocaine that triggered certain statutory minimums from 50 grams to 280 grams. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) (2019).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Eligibility

         First, the Government asserts that because this Court previously reduced Young's sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), Young is not eligible for First Step Act Relief. Section 404(c) of the First Step Act states:

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...

         Pub. L. No. 115-391 § 404(c). Section 2 of the Fair Sentencing Act amended 21 U.S.C. § 841 by increasing the amount of cocaine base ("crack" cocaine) that triggers mandatory minimums. Pub. L. No. 111-220 § 2. Section 3 amended 21 U.S.C. § 844(a) by eliminating the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine. Pub. L. No. 111-220 § 3. The Government argues that Young's § 3582(c)(2) Count One sentence reduction was "consistent with" Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act, therefore he is ineligible for First Step Act relief.

         18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) allows a court to reduce a term of imprisonment when a defendant has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that was subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) (2); see also Dillon v. United States,560 U.S. 817, 819 (2010). The Government and Young jointly moved for, and the Court granted, a ยง ...


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