United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
PEREZ-MONTES, MAG. JUDGE
MEMORANDUM RULING AND ORDER
the court is a motion for reduction of sentence filed by
Melanie Hall on September 6, 2016. (Doc. 202).
was sentenced by the undersigned to serve a seventy-eight
(78) month imprisonment sentence to be followed by a three
(3) year term of supervised release for the offense of
Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics - Methamphetamine on
December 18, 2015. Hall is currently serving her imprisonment
sentence at Aliceville FCI and her projected release date is
September 15, 2021.
argues that she is entitled to a reduction in sentence based
on newly amended United States Sentencing Guideline
§3B1.1 which provides an adjustment for a defendant who
did not have a proprietary interest in the criminal activity
but was simply being paid to perform certain tasks. Hall
contends that the new §3B1.1 language is retroactive and
she meets the five factors the court should consider in
determining the applicability of a minor role reduction:
1) The degree to which the petitioner understood the scope
and structure of the criminal activity;
2) The degree in which the petitioner participated in
planning or organizing the criminal activity;
3) The degree in which the petitioner exercised decision
[sic] making authority;
4) The nature and extent of participating in the commission
of the criminal activity including the acts the petitioner
performed and the responsibility of discretion the petitioner
had in performing those acts; [and]
5) The degree in which the petitioner stood to benefit from
the criminal activity. (Doc. 202).
considering Hall's argument, the court finds Guideline
§3B1.2 applies to what Hall refers to as the minor role
reduction, not §3B 1.1. Additionally, while a new edition
of the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines was
issued after Hall was sentenced, the court does not find that the
content of either §§3B1.1 or 3B1.2 to be new or
retroactive. The only change to the relevant part of the
November 1, 2015 U.S Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual
can be found in the Commentary section of §3B1.2.
Specifically, Application Note 3(C).
Note 3 (C) was amended in 2015 to provide a non-exhaustive
list of factors for a court's consideration when
determining the applicability of a mitigating role
adjustment. The non-exhaustive list includes the five factors
noted by Hall and set forth above.
revised commentary also emphasized that the mere fact that a
defendant performed an "essential" or
"indispensable" role in the criminal activity was
not a conclusive factor in determining whether to apply a
mitigating role in adjustment and that such defendant, if
otherwise eligible, may receive a mitigating role adjustment.
The Fifth Circuit has gone further, concluding that the
defendant must demonstrate that he or she played only a
peripheral role in receiving any mitigating role adjustment,
even the 2-level minor participant reduction.
careful analysis of the §§3B1.1 and 3B1.2
adjustment, there is nothing that indicates the newly
included language in the comment is retroactive. Even if it
is, Hall's role and involvement in the conspiracy would
still disqualify her from receiving any type of mitigating
role reduction. According to the investigative material and
presentence report, Hall actively assisted in the
distribution. Not only did she allow methamphetamine to be
stored at her residence, but she also conducted hand to hand
transactions at her ...