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United States v. Bell

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

April 8, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROGER LEE BELL, a/k/a LEE, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Defendant Roger Lee Bell's motion (DE 414) for a sentence reduction based on Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The amendment reduces by two the offense levels assigned in the Drug Quantity Table, U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, resulting in lower guideline ranges for most drug trafficking offenses.

Bell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing/distributing 28 grams or more of cocaine base, distribution of cocaine base, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base. (DE 362, Judgment). The Court sentenced Bell to a term of 60 months for each charge, to be served concurrently, for a total term of 60 months imprisonment. (DE 362, Judgment).

The distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base triggers a mandatory term of imprisonment "which may not be less than 5 years and not more than 40 years." 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). The United States and Bell agree that Bell utilized his residence to sell and produce cocaine base and that Bell was directly involved in the distribution of cocaine base having a confirmed weight of 95.22 grams. Bell's presentence report found that his total offense level is 25 with a criminal history category of III; therefore, Bell's guideline imprisonment range was 70 to 87 months.

Bell is not entitled to a sentencing reduction pursuant to Amendment 782. A defendant who is subjected to a statutory mandatory-minimum sentence may not benefit from an amendment reducing the Drug Quantity Table offense levels because the statutory mandatory minimum is unchanged and still applies. See, e.g., United States v. Kelley, 570 F.Appx. 525, 531 (6th Cir. 2014) ("[T]he amendments at issue do not lower [the defendant]'s applicable guideline range, because the statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment trumps [the defendant's] otherwise applicable guideline range."); United States v. Johnson, 564 F.3d 419, 423 (6th Cir. 2009) ("Where a mandatory minimum sentence exceeds the otherwise applicable Guidelines range... it replaces the Guidelines range."). Amendment 782 did not reduce the statutory mandatory minimum, and Bell received the minimum sentence pursuant to § 841(b)(1)(B).

Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that the defendant's motion for a sentencing reduction (DE 414) is DENIED.


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