United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
above-captioned case, the Court has been tasked with
determining whether Defendant Gregory Young
("Young") should receive a reduction in his
sentence, pursuant to the application of Amendment 782 of the
United States Sentencing Guidelines. The parties have fully
briefed the issue [Record Documents 124, 125, & 126], and
the matter is now ripe for the Court's decision. For the
reasons that follow, the Court hereby
REDUCES Young's sentence from 240 months
to 206 months.
2009, a jury convicted Young of possession with intent to
distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine. The
presentence report assigned an offense level of 28, per
U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, for an offense that involved between
two and three-and-a-half kilograms of cocaine, and a criminal
history category of VI, resulting in a guideline range of
140-175 months. Young was sentenced by the Honorable Tom
Stagg to 240 months' imprisonment. This sentence
constituted a 37.1% upward departure over the governing
guideline range and was based on the failure of Young's
criminal history category to adequately reflect his true
criminal history. Young is now before the Court seeking a
reduction in his sentence pursuant to Amendment 782.
district court may reduce a sentence when it is for "a
term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has
subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission"
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). As relevant here, the Sentencing
Commission enacted Amendment 782, allowing for a two-level
reduction in the base offense level of drug trafficking
offenses found in § 2D1.1. Amendment 782 was
retroactively applicable on November 1, 2015. United
States v. Caulfield, 647 Fed.Appx. 293, 294 n.4 (5th Or.
2016). In considering whether and to what extent a
defendant's sentence should be reduced, U.S.S.G. §
1B1.10 directs the Court to take into account the sentencing
factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), "the
nature and seriousness of the danger" to any person or
the community that may result from a reduction in the
defendant's sentence, as well as any of the
defendant's relevant post-sentencing conduct. §
1B1.10, App. Note 1(B).
instant case, the parties agree that Young is eligible for a
reduction in sentence based on Amendment 782. They agree that
his new offense level is 26. That offense level, combined
with a criminal history category of VI, results in a
guideline range of 120-150 months. The defense and the United
States Probation Office jointly recommend this Court impose a
sentence of 206 months. While this sentence would be higher
than Young's new guideline range as calculated above, it
nonetheless reflects a comparable upward departure to that
imposed by Judge Stagg. That is, 206 months is 37.1% greater
than the top of the new guideline range.
Young's eligibility for a reduced sentence, the
Government opposes any reduction based on Young's
criminal history. The Government's briefing on this point
explores Young's extensive criminal history in detail.
The Court does not disagree that Young's prior criminal
history was lengthy, serious, violent, and demonstrated utter
contempt for the rule of law. However, this is the very
criminal history that Judge Stagg took into account in 2009
when imposing the upward departure. The Court is in
possession of Judge Stagg's original file in this matter,
and based upon a review of that file, including Judge
Stagg's handwritten notations, the Court is satisfied
that the criminal history highlighted by the Government
served as the basis for the upward departure. As the defense
aptly points out, the current recommend sentence of 206
months takes into account this criminal history by imposing a
comparable upward departure (a 37.1% increase) to the one
imposed in 2009.
disciplinary record from his time in prison shows only one
infraction: possession of a non-hazardous tool (tobacco) in
2015, for which he was punished. During his time in prison,
Young has taken advantage of various programs offered to him
by the Bureau of Prison, including but not limited to small
business accounting, commercial driver's license,
parenting, real estate, keyboarding, history, and speed
reading. Young's transition from a violent drug offender
to a compliant inmate is both encouraging and a strong
refutation of the Government's position that he poses a
danger to those around him. In short, no evidence from
Young's ten years of incarceration indicates that he
presents a current danger to the public safety.
are no new facts or information which would cast doubt upon
the decision made by Judge Stagg at the 2009 sentencing, nor
is there any other reasonable basis upon which to withhold
the application of Amendment 782. A reduction in Young's
term of imprisonment is consistent with the revised
guidelines calculation and the goals of 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a). Thus, considering the facts of this case and the
§ 3553(a) factors, the Court finds that a reduction in
sentence to 37.1% greater than the top of the new guideline
range is warranted.
IT IS ORDERED that Gregory Young's
sentence shall be REDUCED from 240 months to
206 months. ...