United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. HOOD, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on remand from the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. [DE 136; DE
137]. On September 5, 2019, the Sixth Circuit held that this
Court erred in finding Defendant Christopher Holloway's
ineligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act
of 2018 and the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. [DE 136 at 2,
PageID #977]. The Sixth Circuit's mandate issued on
September 30, 2019. [DE 137]. Pursuant to the Sixth
Circuit's Order, [DE 136], and for the reasons set forth
herein below, Holloway's sentence is eligible for
sentence reduction, and his sentence is, and hereby shall
hereby be, REDUCED to 210 months on Count 1.
jury trial, Holloway was found guilty of possession with
intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”
cocaine) in the amount of 7.6 grams and being a felon in
possession of a firearm. [DE 58, DE 67]. Holloway's
possession of five or more grams of crack cocaine carried a
statutory penalty of five to forty years. As a result, he
received a career offender level of 34, a criminal history
category of VI, and an advisory guideline range of 262 to 327
months. Accordingly, On December 2005, Holloway was sentenced
to 262 months on Count 1 and 120 months on Count 3, to be
served concurrently, for a total term of imprisonment of 262
months, to be followed by a four-year term of supervised
released. [DE 67]. Holloway sentenced at the bottom of
Holloway's advisory guideline range. [Id].
sentence was based on Holloway's status as a career
offender pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, not the
guidelines ranges in U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, which are based
on drug quantity. [DE 67; DE 77, PageID #517]. The Sixth
Circuit confirmed the conviction and sentence on direct
appeal. Holloway filed multiple petitions for habeas relief
and has moved for reductions of sentence.
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, Section 404 of the First Step Act retroactively
applies certain sentencing reform provisions of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124 Stat. 2372.
Specifically, the First Step Act retroactively applies the
reduced statutory penalties for crack cocaine offenses in the
FSA to “covered offenses” committed before August 3,
2010. See United States v. McCloud, 730 F.3d 600,
601 (6th Cir. 2013). Thus, a court that imposes a sentence
for a covered offense may impose a sentence as if the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 were in effect at the time the covered
offense was committed. This reduction in sentence may be made
by the court on its own or on a motion of the defendant, the
Director of the Bureau of Prisons, or an attorney for the
result, in early 2019, the Court received a list of prisoners
that might be eligible for a reduction of sentence under the
First Step Act and ordered that the United States Probation
Office review the listed cases and issue a report. [DE 124].
Upon review of that report, and Holloway's case
generally, the Court entered a sua sponte denial of
a reduction of sentence based on Holloway's status as a
career offender. [DE 125].
February 12, 2019, Holloway moved for resentencing based on
the First Step Act. [DE 126], which the Court denied for the
same reason, based on Holloway's sentencing as a career
offender. [DE 127]. On February 15, 2019, Holloway moved for
reconsideration of the Court's previous sua
sponte denial of a sentence reduction based on the First
Step Act. [DE 128]. The Court then entered a Memorandum
Opinion and Order denying Holloway's motion. [DE 127].
filed an appeal, pro se, to the Sixth Circuit [DE
131], docketed as case number 19-5180 [DE 132], challenging
this Court's order sua sponte denying Defendant
a sentence reduction [DE 125] and denying Defendant's
motion for reconsideration. [DE 131]. On appeal, the United
States moved to remand the case to the district court and
Holloway did not oppose the motion.
September 5, 2019, the Sixth Circuit entered an Order finding
that this Court erred finding Holloway was not eligible to
receive a sentence reduction and remanded the action to this
Court. [DE 136 at 2, PageID #977]. Here, Holloway received a
career offender level of 34, a criminal history category of
VI, and an advisory guideline range of 262 to 327 months.
[Id.]. Retroactive application of the Fair
Sentencing Act would, however, have lowered his career
offender level of 34 to a level of 32, and thus would have
reduced his applicable guideline range to 210 to 262 months.
[Id]. As a result, the Sixth Circuit reasoned that, despite
the fact that Holloway was sentenced as a career offender and
not based on the drug quantities involved, Holloway still
should have received a lower career offender level, which
would have, in turn, lowered his advisory guideline range.
[Id.]. Such a reduction in applicable guideline
range makes Holloway eligible for a reduction in sentence.
noted above, Holloway was initially sentenced 262 months,
which was the bottom of his original applicable guideline
range. Retroactively applying the Fair Sentencing Act reduces
his guideline range to 210 to 262 months. As a result, we
find it appropriate that Holloway receive a reduction in
sentence to 210 months on Count I, the bottom of his new
guideline range. Accordingly, and upon the Court's own
motion, IT IS ORDERED as follows:
Defendant Christopher Holloway's sentence of 262 months
imprisonment on Count 1, is VACATED;
Defendant Christopher Holloway is hereby
SENTENCED to 210 months imprisonment on
all other terms and conditions of Defendant Christopher