United States District Court, D. Columbia.
RAYFUL EDMOND, III, Defendant: Gregory Bruce English, LEAD
ATTORNEY, ENGLISH LAW FIRM, PLLC, Alexandria, VA.
EMANUEL W. SUTTON, also known as MANGIE, Defendant: Diane S.
Lepley, LEAD ATTORNEY, DIANE S. LEPLEY, ATTORNEY AT LAW,
Washington, DC; Jensen Egerton Barber, LAW OFFICES OF J.E.
BARBER PC, Washington, DC.
KEITH E. COOPER, also known as CHEESE, Defendant: A.J.
Kramer, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER,
Washington, DC; Howard Bernard Katzoff, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW
OFFICES OF HOWARD KATZOFF, Washington, DC.
ARMARETTA B. PERRY, Defendant: Carlos J. Vanegas, LEAD
ATTORNEY, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Washington, DC; Neil
Howard Jaffee, LEAD ATTORNEY, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER FOR
D.C., Washington, DC.
USA, Plaintiff: Robert D. Okun, LEAD ATTORNEY, UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Special Proceedings Division,
Washington, DC; Joan Draper, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE,
OPINION AND ORDER
C. LAMBERTH, United States District Judge.
before this Court are two motions, each seeking sentence
reductions under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and based upon
the retroactive application of Amendment 782 to the United
States Sentencing Guidelines (" U.S.S.G." ). The
first motion was filed by defendant Melvin Butler [145, 150];
the second by defendant James Antonio Jones . Upon
consideration of the motions, the entire records herein, the
applicable law, and the reasons set forth below,
defendants' Motions to Reduce Sentences pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) will be DENIED.
1990, defendants Butler and Jones were sentenced for their
roles as organizers and managers in the sweeping cocaine
conspiracy run by co-defendant Rayful Edmund III. Each
defendant was an essential and high-ranking member of
Edmund's drug ring, exercising near complete control over
various aspects of the enterprise. According to the
Presentence Investigation Report (" PSR" ),
defendant Butler was one of three people--along with Rayful
Edmund and Edmund's partner, Tony Lewis-who bore primary
responsibility for maintaining and directing the
organization. PSR ¶ 24, Aug. 20, 1990 (stating that
" these three individuals" were the most "
culpable" ). Defendant Butler was Edmund and Lewis's
primary " broker" for illegal drugs, routinely
obtaining cocaine and cocaine base from his contacts in Los
Angeles and then arranging for the drugs to be shipped across
the country. Id. Butler and his drug supply
sustained the organization, allowing it to thrive, expand,
and develop into the far-reaching and sophisticated operation
that it became. See, e.g., United States v.
Edmond, 52 F.3d 1080, 1085, 311 U.S. App.D.C. 235 (D.C.
Cir. 1995) (" [T]he Edmond organization received the
cocaine that fueled its activities from Colombia through a
series of transactions with Melvin Butler in
California." ). Moreover, it nearly goes without saying
that defendant Butler " recruited and supervised
others" when acquiring and transporting immense
quantities of drugs from the west coast. PSR ¶ 24, Aug.
20, 1990. After considering the singular role defendant
Butler played in procuring the drugs and the independence he
exercised in doing so, it is no wonder that the presentencing
report identified him as an indispensable leader of the
criminal organization--just as culpable as Rayful Edmund
defendant Butler, defendant Jones was a crucial participant
in the drug ring. His presentencing report identifies him,
along with three others, as " just below" Edmund,
Lewis, and Butler in the organization's hierarchy. PSR
¶ 34, Feb. 9, 1990. Jones was one of the
organization's four " enforcers," meaning that
he would " carry weapons" and " use force . .
. to keep rival drug distributors from distributing
drugs" in neighborhoods and on blocks claimed by Edmund
and his co-conspirators. Id. at ¶ 33.
Additionally, defendant Jones " supervised the street
lieutenants, collected monies, recruited members for the
organization, paid them, and directed their activities."
Id. at ¶ 34. Suffice it to say, neither of
these defendants was a low-level drug offender.
his conviction, defendant Butler was ultimately sentenced to
405 months in
federal prison. Defendant Butler's original conviction
and sentencing were subject to a series of appeals and
post-sentencing motions, the details of which are explained
in an Order , denying an earlier motion requesting a
sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). In
December 1989, a jury convicted defendant Butler of one count
of Conspiracy to Distribute and to Possess with the Intent to
Distribute over Five Kilograms of Cocaine and one count of
Unlawful Use of a Communications Facility. At sentencing on
September 4, 1990, Judge Charles Richey increased defendant
Butler's base level offense two levels for the use of
guns in connection with the drug trafficking conspiracy,
three levels for his role as a manager in the offense, and
two levels for obstruction of justice. Judge Richey also
granted a two-level reduction for defendant Butler's
acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a guideline range
of 324 to 405 months imprisonment. Judge Richey then
sentenced defendant to the top of the range.
sentencing defendant Butler, Judge Richey sentenced defendant
Jones to 393 months. Defendant Jones's initial sentencing
also underwent several appeals and post-sentencing motions;
more specific information can be found in a Memorandum
Opinion . In December 1989, a jury convicted defendant
Butler of conspiracy to violate narcotics laws under 21
U.S.C. § 846. At sentencing in September 1990, Judge
Richey enhanced defendant Butler's sentence for the use
of guns in connection with the conspiracy and for his
involvement as a supervisor of the organization. These
factors produced a guideline range of 324 to 405 months, and
Judge Richey sentenced Defendant Jones near the top of the
April 30, 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission submitted to
Congress Amendment 782 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,
proposing a downward revision to the applicable sentencing
ranges for drug trafficking offenses. Importantly, on July
18, 2014, the Commission then then passed Amendment 788 to
allow the Amendment 782's revisions to be applied
retroactively. On November 1, 2014, Amendment 782 and its
retroactive application became effective.
few exceptions, Amendment 782 reduces by two the offense
levels assigned in the Drug Quantity Table, as described in
U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1. In fact, the changes are sufficiently
sweeping that the Amendment has been informally referred to
as " all drugs minus two." In light of the
extensive nature of the revisions, the Commission has
required that any sentence reduction based on the retroactive
application of Amendment 782 not take effect until November
1, 2015. This delay is designed to allow the courts,
probation officers, and the Bureau of Prisons the time they
need to consider and process motions relating to Amendment
782's retroactive application and to prepare release
plans for offenders, where applicable. See U.S.S.G.
App. C, Amend. 788 at 87 (2014). (" The administrative
burdens of applying Amendment 782 retroactively are
significant but manageable given the one-year delay in the
effective date, which allows courts and agencies more time to
after Amendments 782 and 788 became effective on November 1,
2014, the defendants filed the instant motions to reduce
their sentences pursuant to ...