United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant Earl M. Scott's
(“Scott”) Motion for Imposition of a Reduced
Sentence Pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act [Doc.
No. 312]. The Government has filed a response [Doc. No. 316].
March 16, 2007, Scott pled guilty, pursuant to a written plea
agreement, to Count One in the Superseding Indictment
charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute “50 grams or more” of cocaine base.
The Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (“PSR”)
Paragraph 27, provided that Scott was accountable for 41.7
grams of cocaine base (crack), which was attributed to Scott
for purposes of the Sentencing Guideline calculations. PSR,
Paragraph 32. With a base offense level of 25 and
Criminal History Category of VI, the guideline imprisonment
range was 110 months to 137 months. PSR, Paragraph 88.
However, because the statutory minimum sentence was greater
than the low end of the guidelines range, the guideline range
became 120 months to 137 months. PSR, Paragraph 87.
December 3, 2007, Scott was sentenced to serve 120 months
imprisonment and five years supervised release, the minimums
under the statute. [Doc. Nos. 208, 209]. On September 30,
2016, Scott was released from the Bureau of Prisons and his
supervision commenced in the Western District of Louisiana.
January 31, 2019, a Petition for Warrant or Summons was filed
alleging that Scott violated multiple conditions of his
supervised release. [Doc. Nos. 283, 284]. On October 1, 2019,
an Amended Petition for Warrant or Summons was filed alleging
additional violations. [Doc. Nos. 301, 302].
October 23, 2019, Scott filed the pending motion [Doc. No.
312] seeking to have the Court reduce his term of supervised
release from five years to four years pursuant to the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 and the First Step Act of 2018.
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was enacted August 3, 2010, and
amended the portions of 21 U.S.C. § 841 that establish
the statutory mandatory minimum penalties for crack cocaine
offenses. Pub. L. No. 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372). Relevant to
Scott, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 amended 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) to increase the quantity of cocaine
base required to trigger the respective statutory penalties
from 50 grams to 280 grams. Id. The maximum penalty
for the offense to which Scott pled guilty was changed from
life imprisonment to forty years; therefore, the offense
changed from being a Class A felony to being a Class B
felony. See 18 U.S.C. § 3559. The minimum term
of supervised release changed from being five years to being
four years. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 did not make the
changes to § 841 retroactive to defendants, like Scott,
who had already been sentenced.
First Step Act of 2018 was enacted December 21, 2018. Pub. L.
No. 115-391. Section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018 made
the amendments to § 841 in the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010 retroactive to defendants sentenced prior to August 3,
2010. Section 404 independently authorizes a district court
to impose a reduced sentence for crack cocaine convictions
where the statutory penalty provisions of the Fair Sentencing
Act would have applied had that Act been in effect at the
time of the original sentencing. It is under Section 404 that
Scott is seeking relief.
contends that he is entitled to a reduction of his term of
supervised release because the district court originally
imposed the mandatory minimum term of supervised release at
the time, five years, and under the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010, the revised minimum term of supervision is four years.
Accordingly, Scott requests that the Court enter an amended
judgment reducing his term of supervision from five years to
November 18, 2019, the Government filed a response in which
it acknowledges that the Court has the discretion under the
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and the First Step Act of 2018 to
decrease Scott's term of supervised release from five to
four years. However, the Government argues that the previous
term of five years of supervised release is within the
applicable range under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, and
the Court should exercise its discretion and decline to
reduce Scott's term of supervised release.
reviewing all of the pertinent facts in this case and
considering all of the relevant factors set forth in 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a), the Court concludes that a supervised
release period of four years, applicable to Scott's Class
B offense, is sufficient to achieve the goals of sentencing
for Scott. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that
Scott's Motion for Imposition of a Reduced Sentence
Pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act [Doc. No. 312]
is GRANTED and this Court will enter an
amended judgment accordingly.