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United States v. Walker

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

July 18, 2019




         Defendant Ricky Walker has filed a letter, docketed by the clerk as a motion, requesting the appointment of counsel. [Record No. 117] The Court will treat the letter as a motion to appoint counsel and a request for a sentence reduction pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 (“2018 Act”). [Id.] After reviewing the record, the Court has determined that neither appointment of counsel nor relief under the 2018 Act is appropriate.


         It is necessary to review the history of Walker's conviction and sentence to determine whether a sentence reduction is appropriate. Walker pleaded guilty on October 13, 1998, to one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. See United States v. Walker, U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Ky., Pikeville Div., Criminal No. 7:98-24-JMH. On April 19, 1999, Walker was sentenced on April 19, 1999, by United States District Judge Joseph M. Hood to a term of imprisonment of 72 months, to be followed by a 6-year term of supervised release. See id. Walker continually violated the terms of his supervision, which eventually resulted in an indictment in the present case for distributing and conspiring to distribute cocaine base.

         Walker pleaded guilty on September 10, 2007, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846. [Record No. 63] Pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”), Walker was assigned a base offense level of 26 based upon the amount of cocaine base, cocaine, and marijuana attributed to him. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1. His offense level, however, was increased to 37 because he was properly classified as a career offender within the meaning of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 and the statutory maximum for the offense was life. A three-level adjustment was applied for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total offense level of 34. And because Walker was a career offender, he was placed in Criminal History Category VI for purposes of calculating his guideline range of imprisonment. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Walker's total offense level of 34, combined with a Criminal History Category VI, produced a guidelines range of 262 to 327 months' imprisonment. Walker was ultimately sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 220 months followed by a term of supervised release of 8 years. [Record No. 76]

         In imposing the sentence, the Court provided an extensive explanation regarding why Walker should serve a minimum of 220 months incarceration for his continuing drug activity. As the Court explained:

In looking at the criminal history of the defendant, there are some very serious offenses that have been committed. But it is noteworthy to point out that, in particular, one federal conviction that appears in Paragraph - at Paragraph 61 of the presentence report. The defendant was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base - again, crack cocaine - back in 1998. And at that time, his guideline range - he was a career offender, and at that time his guideline range was 188 to 235 months.
The Court eventually sentenced him to a term of 72 months, which was a substantial reduction from what he was facing at the time.
And it would appear that, based upon that reduction, that he should have learned his lesson at that time that further drug activity would not be tolerated by the Court, in federal court.
But of course, he has involved himself in that activity, and he's involved other individuals, one of which has already been before this Court, Mr. [sic] Wallace, a very unfortunate individual [who] was previously sentenced.
So this defendant has not been deterred from criminal conduct as a result of prior sentences that were imposed, again, by this Court, by another Judge of this Court.
[] the Court is concerned that there is a need to impose a sentence that will provide sufficient deterrence for the defendant so that he understands that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.
The Court also believes that there's a need to impose a lengthy sentence to protect the public from future crimes of this defendant. And while he has apologized, the Court has to take that apology with a grain of salt, based on his criminal history.

[Record No. 84, pp. 8-9] The Court also explained that it would typically impose a sentence of 300 months for this conduct, so that was the starting point. Further, “[t]he Court would ordinarily reduce a sentence in a case such as this by five years, but in this case I'm going to go down by 80 months, instead of 60 months.” [Id. at 10.] The Court determined that reducing the ...

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