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United States v. Thomas

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 16, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTHONY THOMAS

         SECTION: “E”

          ORDER AND REASONS

          SUSIE MORGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Anthony Thomas's Motion for Reduction of Sentence.[1] For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 4, 2012, Thomas was charged in a twenty-nine-count indictment related to his role in a scheme to commit arson and collect insurance policies on the affected properties.[2] On March 12, 2014, Thomas pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to Counts 1 through 9 of a Superseding Bill of Information.[3] Specifically, Thomas pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Arson (Count 1); Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud (Count 2); Wire Fraud (Counts 3-5); Arson (Count 6); Use of Fire to Commit a Felony (Count 7); Arson (Count 8); and False Statement (Count 9).[4] On March 4, 2015, the Court sentenced Thomas to 204 months in prison: 84 months as to Counts 1 through 6 and 8, and 60 months as to Count 9, to be served concurrently, and 120 months as to Count 7, to be served consecutively to all other counts.[5]

         On April 1, 2015, Thomas filed a direct appeal with the Fifth Circuit.[6] On April 11, 2016, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of conviction on the grounds that Thomas's appeal was frivolous.[7] On April 4, 2017, Thomas, proceeding pro se, filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, [8] which the Court denied.[9]

         ANALYSIS

         In this motion, Thomas moves the Court to reduce or alter the terms of his sentence on the grounds that he has been rehabilitated.[10] The Court finds that such relief is unavailable.

         This Court does not have the authority to modify Defendant's sentence. Defendant fashions the motion as a “Motion for Reduction of Sentence” but this is not a cognizable procedure for obtaining post-judgment relief. The Fifth Circuit has explained that a district court has limited authority to modify or correct a sentence:

18 U.S.C. § 3582(b) authorizes the district court to modify a previously imposed sentence in a limited number of circumstances, such as: (1) when the court receives a motion from the Director of the Bureau of Prisons indicating there are extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting a reduction and that reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission; (2) pursuant to Rule 35(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure the district court, acting within 7 days after the imposition of sentence, corrects an arithmetical, technical, or other clear error identified in a previously imposed sentence; and (3) when a defendant who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based upon a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission.[11]

         None of these limited circumstances applies in this case. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons has not moved to modify the Defendant's term of imprisonment. As a result, the Defendant is unable to seek relief pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Nor has the Defendant alleged an “arithmetical, technical, or other clear error” by the district court sufficient to seek relief under Rule 35.[12] Finally, the Defendant was given a within Guidelines range sentence pursuant to his plea agreement, and the applicable sentencing range has not been lowered.

         CONCLUSION

         Accordingly;

         IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Anthony Thomas's Motion to ...


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