United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves, United States District Court Judge.
Donna Reid was convicted of money laundering, conspiring to
launder money, and harboring a fugitive, in 2008. She was
sentenced to 188 months' imprisonment to be followed by
two years of supervised release. [Record No. 150] Reid
challenged her conviction through direct appeal and
collateral attack, but was unsuccessful. [Record Nos. 178,
230] She subsequently filed motions for the appointment of
counsel and for a sentence reduction pursuant to retroactive
amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
However, the amendments did not affect Reid's guidelines
calculation, and her motions were denied. [Record Nos. 256,
Court most recently received correspondence from Reid
requesting appointment of counsel to assist her in seeking
relief under the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391,
132 Stat. 5194 (Dec. 21, 2018). [Record No. 268] While Reid
has not identified the precise relief sought under the First
Step Act, it does not appear that she is entitled to any
judicial relief under the Act.
First Step Act includes sentencing reform provisions, none of
which applies to Reid. Section 401 of the Act restricts
enhanced sentencing for prior drug felonies by changing the
way predicate convictions are defined. However, the Section
401 amendments do not apply retroactively to defendants who
have already been sentenced. Likewise, Section 402 (which
broadens the safety valve under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)) and
Section 403 (which clarifies the "stacking
provision" of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(C)), do not
apply retroactively. Section 404 of the Act permits courts to
apply sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
retroactively. However, these provisions apply only to crack
cocaine and simple possession offenses, neither of which was
involved in Reid's conviction.
102 of the First Step Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1)
to allow federal prisoners to earn 54 days of good time
credit for each year the sentence is imposed. Pub. L. No.
115-391, § 102(b)(1). However, this provision does not
take effect until the Attorney General's completion of
the risk and needs assessment described in Section 101, in or
around July 2019. See Sheppard v. Quintana, No. 5:
19-084-DCR, 2019 WL 1103391, at *2 (E.D. Ky. March 8, 2019).
Accordingly, any request for relief under this provision
would be premature.
First Step Act also expands the criteria for compassionate
release and allows prisoners to appeal the Bureau of
Prisons' denial of compassionate release. Pub. L. No.
115-391, § 603(b); 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). It is
unclear whether the defendant meets the criteria to be
considered for compassionate release, but there is no
indication that she has requested such relief from the BOP.
Prisoners must exhaust administrative remedies before seeking
judicial relief under Section 603(b), so the Court would be
unable to entertain such a request at this time.
the defendant is not entitled to the appointment of counsel.
Section 3582(c) provides a vehicle through which
appropriately sentenced prisoners can urge the court to
exercise leniency. See United States v. Webb, 565
F.3d 789, 794-95 (11th Cir. 2009); United States v.
Eversole, No. 6: 13-07-DCR, 2015 WL 7737495, at *3 (E.D.
Ky. Nov. 30, 2015). And 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is properly
used for petitions which challenge "the manner in which
a sentence is executed," such as challenges to the
BOP's calculation of good time credits. Capaldi v.
Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th Cir. 1998);
Sullivan v. United States, 90 Fed.Appx. 862, 863
(6th Cir. 2004).
is no constitutional right to counsel in either type of
proceeding. See Cobas v. Burgess, 306 F.3d 441, 444
(6th Cir. 2002); United States v. Bruner, No. 5:
14-cr-05-KKC, 2017 WL 1060434, at *2 (E.D. Ky. March 21,
2017). Instead, the Court has discretion to determine whether
appointment of counsel is warranted. Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 638 (6th Cir. 1986). This
determination depends on various factors including the
complexity of the case and the petitioner's ability to
present the issues involved. See Lavado v. Keohane,
992 F.2d 601, 605-06 (6th Cir. 1993). Here, the potential
issues are straightforward and the record is sufficient to
consider any request for relief under the First Step Act.
Accordingly, appointment of counsel is unnecessary and would
be a waste of resources.
on the foregoing, it is hereby
that the defendant's request for the appointment of
counsel [Record No. 268] is DENIED. The
Clerk of the Court is directed to send a copy of this