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United States v. Cooper

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

August 29, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RICKY M. COOPER, Defendant.

ORDER

GEORGE C. SMITH, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Ricky Cooper's pro se Motion for Modification of Sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(2) (Doc. 170). This Motion was filed on February 19, 2013. The Government has not filed a response. The Probation Officer has submitted a Post-Sentencing Addendum to the Presentence Report.

Defendant Cooper was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, possessing with intent to distribute over 5 grams of cocaine base, and possessing with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. Defendant was found guilty at trial. On May 11, 2000, Defendant was sentenced to 365 months imprisonment based on an offense level 38 and criminal history category III.

Defendant's base offense level was reduced from a 38 to a 36 after the November 1, 2007 crack amendment was retroactively applied to his case. When combined with Defendant's criminal history category III, the new advisory sentencing guideline range was 235 to 293 months. Defendant's sentence was reduced to 293 months. ( See Doc. 159).

On November 1, 2010, as part of the congressional directive embedded in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, the United States Sentencing Commission promulgated Guideline Amendment 748 which calibrated the crack cocaine guidelines of §2D1.1 to an 18:1 ratio. On June 30, 2011, the Commission promulgated Guideline Amendment 750 which effectively amended U.S.S.G. §1B1.10 to authorize the retroactive application of Guideline Amendment 748 to all defendants who are serving crack sentences as long as they meet certain eligibility criteria.

Defendant argues that his offense level should be reduced two levels pursuant to Amendment 748 and requests the Court sentence him at the bottom end of the guideline range, 188 months. Defendant also requests immediate release, or downward variance based on the §3553(a) factors.

Whether to grant a reduction of sentence pursuant to §3582(c)(2) is within the discretion of the court. United States v. Ursery, 109 F.3d 1129, 1137 (6th Cir. 1997). Although a defendant may qualify for a reduction in sentence, a reduction is not automatic. See United States v. Vautier, 144 F.3d 756, 760 (11th Cir. 1998) ("The grant of authority to the district court to reduce a term of imprisonment is unambiguously discretionary."). In considering whether a reduced sentence is appropriate, this court must consider the factors in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable. See §3582(c)(2).

The Probation Officer reports that the Defendant meets the criteria for eligibility for a reduction of his sentence based on Amendment 748 and recommends a reduction from an offense level 36 to a level 34. Based on the offense level 34 and criminal history category III, the new advisory guideline range would be 188 to 235 months. The Probation Officer recommends a sentence of 235 months.

Upon consideration of Defendant's motion, the letters submitted on his behalf, and the statutory sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a), the Court concludes that a reduction of Defendant's term of incarceration is appropriate in light of the reduction in the applicable guideline range, made retroactive by Amendment 748. The Court has considered the need to protect the public from further crime of the Defendant as urged by the Government and concludes that even with the reduction in sentence, Defendant will be incarcerated for a very lengthy period of time to protect the public and hopefully rehabilitate Defendant from committing future crimes.

Accordingly, based on the recommendation of the Probation Officer, Defendant's actions while incarcerated such as obtaining his GED and taking education classes, and the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a), the Court reduces Defendant's offense level from a 36 to a 34. The sentence of 293 months incarceration previously imposed in this case is hereby reduced to a term of incarceration of 235 months. Therefore, Defendant's Motion for Reduction of Sentence is GRANTED.

The Clerk shall remove Document 170 from the Court's ...


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