United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. HOWELL CHIEF JUDGE
Charles King, Jr. is halfway into a five-year term of
supervised release. Pending before the Court is his second
motion for early termination of supervised release, pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1), based upon his unblemished
supervision record and his significant progress reintegrating
into the community. See Def.'s Mot. for Early
Term. Super. Rel. (“Def.'s Mot.”), ECF No.
146; Def.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. (“Def.'s
Reply”), ECF No. 149; Def.'s Ltr. (Jan. 25, 2019),
ECF No. 150 (sealed). The government opposes the pending motion
because of the defendant's significant, violent criminal
history involving offenses the defendant committed when he
was a juvenile. Gov't's Opp'n Def.'s Mot.
(“Gov't's Opp'n”) at 3-4, ECF No.
148. For the reasons stated below, the defendant's motion
is granted in part and denied in part. The defendant's
term of supervised release is reduced from 60 months to 36
months, and at the government's suggestion, see
Id. at 5 n.3, the defendant is no longer required to
submit monthly reports to the U.S. Probation Office.
12, 2004, following a jury trial, the defendant was sentenced
to a term of 151 months' imprisonment on possession with
intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(iii)
(Count One), to run consecutively with 60 months'
imprisonment on one count of using, carrying, and possessing
a firearm during a drug trafficking offense in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Count Two), for a total of 211
months' incarceration. See Judgment (July 12,
2004) at 2, ECF No. 64. The defendant was also sentenced to
two, concurrent 60-month terms of supervised release.
Id. at 3. The defendant was statutorily required to
receive a minimum 60-month term of supervised release because
of his conviction under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
841(b)(1)(A)(iii). See Presentence Investigation
Report (“PSR”) ¶ 57, ECF No. 151. Had no
statutorily required term of supervised release applied, the
defendant's conviction under §§ 841(a)(1),
841(b)(1)(A)(iii), a Class A felony, would have been subject
to the recommendations of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. At
the time the defendant was sentenced, those guidelines
recommended at least three but not more than five years of
supervised release for conviction of a Class A felony.
See U.S.S.G. § 5D1.2(a)(1)
(2003). No. statutorily required minimum term of
supervised release applies to a conviction under 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c)(1). The defendant's sentence on Count One
was later reduced to 120 months pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2), see Order (Dec. 5, 2013), ECF No.
defendant served 13 years and two months in prison,
see Def.'s Mot. at 4, and his concurrent
five-year terms of supervised release began on June 20, 2016
and are scheduled to end on June 19, 2021. See U.S.
Probation Office Mem. at 1 (Aug. 15, 2017), ECF No. 143.
defendant seeks relief from his five-year term of supervised
release under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1), which authorizes
termination of a term of supervised release “at any
time after the expiration of one year of supervised release,
” so long as certain factors set out in § 3553(a)
are considered and the release “is warranted by the
conduct of the defendant [on supervision] and the interest of
justice.” 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1). Both parties
agree that this Court has the discretion to modify the
defendant's term of supervised release even though he is
subject to a statutorily mandated five-year term.
See Gov't's Opp'n at 1; Def.'s Mot.
at 3; see also United States v. Harris, 258
F.Supp.3d 137, 142-43 (D.D.C. 2017) (BAH) (discussing this
issue and concluding that the “weight of authority
confirms that § 3583(e)(1) authorizes termination of [a]
statutorily mandated term of supervised release . . .
”) (citing cases and U.S. Sentencing Comm'n,
Federal Offenders Sentenced to Supervised Release 35 (July
2010)); see also United States v. Wesley, 311
F.Supp.3d 77, 79 n.1 (D.D.C. 2018) (CKK) (same).
D.C. Circuit has instructed, at least in the context of a
denial of a motion for early termination of supervised
release, that the district court explain its consideration of
the relevant factors, unless “the reasons for denying
the motion are apparent from the record.” United
States v. Mathis-Gardner, 783 F.3d 1286, 1289-90 (D.C.
Cir. 2015). The reasoning of the D.C. Circuit applies equally
to a decision to grant such a motion. Harris, 258
F.Supp.3d at 143. Accordingly, the Court first considers the
relevant factors under § 3553(a) before turning to
whether the defendant's post-incarceration conduct and
the interest of justice warrant early termination of
Consideration of Applicable Factors Under 18 U.S.C. §
evaluating a motion for early termination of supervised
release, the Court must consider the following seven factors
from § 3553(a): (1) the nature and circumstances of the
offense and the defendant's history and characteristics;
(2) deterrence of criminal conduct; (3) protection of the
public from further crimes of the defendant; (4) the need to
provide the defendant with educational or vocational
training, medical care, or other correctional treatment; (5)
the applicable sentencing guideline range for the offense and
pertinent policy statements issued by the U.S. Sentencing
Commission; (6) the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing
disparities; and (7) the need to provide restitution to any
victims of the offense. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)
(authorizing modification of supervised release “after
considering the factors set forth in” §
3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B)-(D), and (a)(4)-(7)). The fifth, sixth,
and seventh factors, however, have limited relevance to the
defendant because the Sentencing Commission has not
promulgated guidelines or policy statements addressing early
termination of supervised release, see generally
U.S.S.G. Ch. 7, Pts. A & B, because the “factor of
avoiding unwarranted sentencing disparities . . . would
generally undermine the case specific inquiry required in
evaluating a motion for early termination of supervised
release, ” Harris, 258 F.Supp.3d at 145, and
because the defendant has no restitution obligations.
considering the four remaining, relevant factors, the Court
is cognizant that supervised release “serves an
entirely different purpose than the sentence imposed under
§ 3553(a).” Pepper v. United States, 562
U.S. 476, 502 n.15 (2011). “Supervised release fulfills
rehabilitative ends, distinct from those served by
incarceration.” United States v. Johnson
(“Johnson I”), 529 U.S. 53, 59 (2000);
see also Johnson v. United States
(“Johnson II”), 529 U.S. 694, 708-09
(2000) (recognizing the “congressional policy in
providing for a term of supervised release . . . is to
improve the odds of a successful transition from the prison
to liberty”). In addition, the Supreme Court has noted
the congressional “aim . . . to use the district
courts' discretionary judgment to allocate supervision to
those release[d] who need it most, ” Johnson
II, 529 U.S. at 709. “The relevant factors under
§ 3553(a) are, consequently, evaluated mindful of the
Supreme Court's clear articulation of the purpose of
supervised release and the district court's discretion to
limit terms of supervised release to those who need
it.” Harris, 258 F.Supp.3d at 145 (internal
quotation marks and alterations omitted).
of the first factor-the nature and circumstances of the
offense-indicates that the defendant was driving a vehicle
that was stopped for a license plate violation, and an
ensuing search of that vehicle uncovered 106.6 grams of
cocaine base, a loaded handgun, and cash. See PSR
¶¶ 4-6; Gov't's Opp'n at 1-2. As the
government observes, this behavior “present[ed] a
serious danger to the community, ” Gov't's
Opp'n at 5, and was “even more alarming” in
light of the defendant's criminal history, id.
defendant concedes the seriousness of his conduct, but also
notes that no violence occurred in connection with this
offense. Def.'s Mot. at 4. Further, the defendant points
out that he has already served significant time for his
offenses, id., and that, had the Fair Sentencing Act
of 2010 been made retroactive to his offense, the statutory
mandatory minimum for his Count One conviction would have
been 60 months' imprisonment rather than 120 months'
imprisonment, and he therefore would already have completed
both his sentence and his term of supervised release,
see Def.'s Reply at 4-5. Indeed, although neither
party raises this issue, Congress recently made the Fair
Sentencing Act retroactive to the drug offense for which the
defendant was convicted. See First Step Act of 2018
(“First Step Act”), Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132
Stat. 5194, § 404. Thus, any defendant sentenced for a
crack cocaine offense before the 2010 effective date of the
Fair Sentencing Act who did not receive the benefit of the
statutory penalty changes made by that Act is now eligible
for a sentence reduction.
the defendant has already served his sentence and therefore
cannot benefit from any sentence reduction, the Fair
Sentencing Act and the First Step Act, taken together, are
evidence that Congress has decided as a policy matter that a
120-month mandatory minimum sentence for the defendant's
offense is no longer appropriate. These sentencing changes
are relevant to the Court's consideration of a motion to
reduce a term of supervised release. See United States v.
Epps, 707 F.3d 337, 345 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (holding that a
defendant's challenge to his sentence after he had been
released but while he was still serving a term of supervised
release was not moot because “there seems to be a very
substantial likelihood that a ruling that [defendant's]
incarceration should have been shorter would influence the
district court's readiness to reduce his term of
supervised release”). Congress has effectively
indicated that the defendant's term of imprisonment
should have been shorter. Thus, while recognizing that the
defendant's conduct was serious, the nature and
circumstances of the offense, in ...