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United States v. Guzman

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

August 19, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN GUZMAN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          JOSEPH M. HOOD SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant John Guzman's motion, styled a motion for “reduction in sentence” under the First Step Act. [DE 114]. In fact, Guzman requests this Court grant him early release, [1] claiming there are “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to do so under the First Step Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). [DE 114 at 1-6, PageID #1661-66]. In the alternative, he asks for early release to home detention under the “Second Chance Act, ” 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g), which allows early release to home detention for elderly and terminally ill offenders. [Id. at 6-7, PageID #1166-67].

         On June 28, 2019, this Court directed the United States to respond to Guzman's motion. [DE 115]. The United States having now responded, [DE 116], and Guzman having replied in support of his motion, [DE 117], this matter is now ripe for review. Having reviewed said motion, and being otherwise sufficiently advised, IT IS ORDERED that Guzman's motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On November 18, 2016, after a one-week jury trial, Guzman was found guilty on nine counts of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1). [DE 42]. On February 21, 2017, Guzman was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of fifty (50) months on each of the nine counts to run concurrently. [DE 60].

         Guzman is currently serving his sentence at Federal Medical Center (“FMC”) in Lexington, Kentucky. [Id.]. Guzman is 73 years old and has served more than 50 percent of his sentence. He now requests early release. [DE 114].

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Guzman's Request for Early Release Under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).

         Guzman argues that he is entitled to early release under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A). First, he argues he is entitled to early release for “extraordinary and compelling reasons.” [DE 114 at 1, PageID #1161]. Second, he argues that he is entitled to compassionate release. [Id. at 2, PageID #1662]. In support of these arguments, Guzman claims he is a 73 years of age and has several serious medical conditions, from which he claims he is not expected to recover. [Id. at 1, PageID #1661].

         Regardless, even if Guzman demonstrated an “extraordinary and compelling” reason to reduce his term of imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), or met the requirements for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(ii), Guzman failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the statute. As such, his request for a reduction is premature at this time and must be denied.

         On December 21, 2018, the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194, was signed into law. Among other reforms, the First Step Act of 2018 expands the criteria for compassionate release and gives defendants the opportunity to appeal the Bureau of Prisons' denial of compassionate release. Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 603(b). To request a reduction in his or her term of imprisonment for “compelling and extraordinary reason, ” or “compassionate release” a defendant must comply with the requirements set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). The language of 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) specifically provides:

(c) Modification of an imposed term of imprisonment. The Court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except that-
(1)in any case-
(A) the court, upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, or upon motion of the defendant after the defendant has fully exhausted all administrative rights to appeal a failure of the Bureau of Prisons to bring a motion on the defendant's behalf or the lapse of 30 days from the receipt of such a request by the warden of the defendant's facility, whichever is earlier, may reduce the term of imprisonment (and may impose a term of probation or supervised release with or without conditions that does not exceed the unserved portion of the original term ...

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