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United States v. Farley

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 4, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
EDWARD TYRONE FARLEY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL L. FRIEDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The matters before the Court are defendant Edward Tyrone Farley's pro se motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) based on Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines [Dkt. No. 212], and his pro se motion seeking various forms of relief under Rule 60(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [Dkt. No. 214]. The United States opposes both motions. Upon careful consideration of the parties' written submissions, the relevant legal authorities, and the entire record in this case, the Court will deny both motions.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         In January 2009, Mr. Farley entered a plea of guilty pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1). See Plea ¶ 1. As part of the plea agreement, Mr. Farley acknowledged responsibility for at least one kilogram, but less than three kilograms, of heroin. See id. ¶ 2.

         The presentence investigation report prepared by the Probation Office reflected a base offense level of 32, plus a three-level enhancement for Mr. Farley's role as a supervisor or manager in the criminal activity, for an adjusted offense level of 35. See PSR ¶¶ 32, 35. Because Mr. Farley qualified as a career offender under Section 4B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, however, the presentence investigation report set an adjusted offense level of 37 and a criminal history category of VI. See id. ¶¶ 38, 55. Mr. Farley received a three-level downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total offense level of 34. See id. ¶¶ 39-40. With a total offense level of 34 and a criminal history category of VI, Mr. Farley's guidelines sentencing range was 262 to 327 months. See id. ¶ 108. In making its own independent guidelines determination, as required by law, the Court agreed with the calculations made by the Probation Office. In the Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, however, Mr. Farley and the United States agreed to a below-guidelines sentence of 180 months. See Plea ¶ 3. On June 30, 2009, Judge James Robertson accepted the plea and imposed a sentence of 180 months' imprisonment. See Judgment at 2.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Section 3582 Motion Based on Amendment 782

         Mr. Farley moves for a reduction in his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) based on Amendment 782 to the drug quantity tables in the Sentencing Guidelines, an amendment which was made retroactive by Amendment 788. See Section 3582 Mot. at 1-2. Amendment 782 reduced by two levels the base offense levels for certain controlled substance offenses. See U.S.S.G. app. C, amends. 782 (reduction), 788 (making Amendment 782 retroactive). The United States opposes the requested sentence reduction on the ground that Mr. Farley's offense level was determined by his designation as a career offender under Section 4B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines - the career offender guideline - rather than by drug quantity. See Opp'n at 6-8. Mr. Farley, in turn, challenges his designation as a career offender on the ground that his prior controlled substance offenses are too dated to constitute valid career offender predicate offenses. See 3582 Mot. at 3-4.

         Under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), the Court may modify a sentence when the defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a sentencing range that subsequently has been lowered by the Sentencing Commission. See Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 819 (2010). Any sentence modification under Section 3582(c)(2) must be “consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” Id. at 821 (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2)). The Court must first determine whether the defendant is eligible for a sentence modification under Section 3582(c)(2), and then determine, in its discretion, whether a reduction in the sentence is warranted considering the factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). See United States v. Butler, 130 F.Supp.3d 317, 319-20 (D.D.C. 2015), aff'd sub nom. United States v. Jones, 846 F.3d 366 (D.C. Cir. 2017). To be eligible for a sentence modification under Section 3582(c)(2), a defendant must show that he was initially sentenced “based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission, ” and that the modification is “consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2); see Hughes v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1765, 1773, 1775 (2018); Koons v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1783, 1786-87 (2018); Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. at 819.

         The policy statement applicable to this case - Section 1B1.10 of the Sentencing Guidelines - provides that a sentence reduction “is not consistent with this policy statement and therefore is not authorized by Section 3582(c)(2)” if the relevant amendment “does not have the effect of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline range.” See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(a)(2)(B). For a defendant who qualifies as a career offender, the “applicable guideline range” referenced in Section 1B1.10 is the range provided by the career offender provision of the Sentencing Guidelines, not the drug quantity tables. See United States v. Akers, 892 F.3d 432, 434 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (citing United States v. Berry, 618 F.3d 13, 18 (D.C. Cir. 2010)).

         Here, Amendment 782 does not have the effect of lowering Mr. Farley's “applicable guideline range” because he was designated as a career offender under the Sentencing Guidelines. His career offender designation resulted in an offense level of 37 and a criminal history category of VI, regardless of the quantity of drugs that he acknowledged in his plea agreement. See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. He then received a three-level downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total offense level of 34. See PSR ¶¶ 39-40. Because of Mr. Farley's designation as a career offender, the drug quantity guidelines played no role in determining Mr. Farley's sentence. See United States v. Akers, 892 F.3d at 434. Mr. Farley's “applicable guideline range” therefore remains unchanged by the revised drug quantity tables under Amendment 782: his offense level remains 34, his criminal history category remains VI, and his applicable guidelines sentencing range remains 262 to 327 months. Because Amendment 782 has no impact on Mr. Farley's applicable guidelines sentencing range, he is not eligible for the requested sentence modification under Section 3582(c)(2). See, e.g., United States v. Akers, 892 F.3d at 434 (affirming district court's determination that career offender was not eligible for sentence reduction based on Amendment 782); United States v. Perez, No. 09-0293, 2017 WL 3446757, at *2 (D.D.C. Aug. 9, 2017); United States v. King-Gore, No. 12-0023-01, 2016 WL 10951263, at *2 (D.D.C. Apr. 19, 2016); United States v. Clipper, 179 F.Supp.3d 110, 117 (D.D.C. 2016).

         Mr. Farley challenges his designation as a career offender on the ground that his prior controlled substance offenses are too dated to constitute valid career offender predicate offenses. See Section 3582 Mot. at 3-4. This argument is unavailing. A defendant is a career offender under Section 4B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines if: (1) he was at least eighteen years old at the time he committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) he has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). Under Section 4A1.2(e)(1) of the Sentencing Guidelines, the career offender designation may be applied if the sentences for the two prior felony convictions “exceed[] one year and one month” and were “imposed within fifteen years of the defendant's commencement of the instant offense, ” and any “prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year and one month, whenever imposed, . . . resulted in the defendant being incarcerated during any part of such fifteen-year period.” Id. § 4A1.2(e); see id. § 4B1.2, application note 3.

         Applying those factors here, Mr. Farley was approximately 45 years old in April 2007 when the instant conspiracy offense began, the instant conviction is for felony conspiracy heroin distribution, and Mr. Farley has two prior felony convictions for cocaine distribution. See PSR ¶¶ 3, 20, 38, 48-49. The sentences for the two prior felony convictions were imposed in May 1992 and August 1992, respectively, and each sentence exceeded one year and one month. See id. ¶¶ 48-49. Because Mr. Farley committed the instant offense beginning in April 2007, the sentences for these 1992 felony convictions were imposed “within fifteen years of the defendant's commencement of the instant offense.” See U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(e). In addition, in view of the fact that Mr. Farley was released on parole in July 2006 for both 1992 felony convictions, see PSR ¶¶ 48-49, he was subject to a “prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year . . . whenever imposed, that resulted in the defendant being incarcerated during any part of such fifteen-year period.” See U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(e). Accordingly, the 1992 felony convictions are appropriate predicate offenses for Mr. Farley's career offender designation. See United States v. Clipper, 179 F.Supp.3d at 117 (rejecting challenge to career offender designation raised in Section 3582(c)(2) motion). Mr. Farley therefore is not eligible for a sentence modification based on a retroactive application of Amendment 782.

         B. ...


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