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United States v. Wilson

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

April 13, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff.
v.
EMANUEL L. WILSON, JR., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Emanuel L. Wilson, Jr.'s motion (DE 28) 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.

Wilson pleaded guilty of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. (DE 26, Judgment). The distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin 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)(i). The United States and Wilson agree that when a confidential informant ("CI") reached out to Wilson seeking to oxycodone pills, Wilson responded that it would be difficult for him to sell pills but he could sell heroin. The CI and Wilson agreed to a transaction of four ounces of heroin. While traveling to consummate the sale, police officers initiated a traffic stop, searched his vehicle, and located the heroin. Laboratory testing confirmed that the total amount of heroin recovered was 111.9 grams. Wilson's presentence report found that his total offense level is 23 with a criminal history category of II; therefore, Wilson's guideline imprisonment range was 51 to 63 months. But the statutory mandatory minimum sentence effectively raised his imprisonment range to 60 to 63 months. The Court sentenced Wilson to a term of 60 months imprisonment. (DE 26, Judgment).

Wilson 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 Wilson received the minimum sentence pursuant to § 841(b)(1)(B).

Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that the defendant's motion for a sentencing reduction (DE 28) is DENIED.


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