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United States v. Marshall

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

January 9, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
BRANDEN C. MARSHALL DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          Joseph H. McKinley Jr., Senior Judge

         This matter is before the Court on a motion by Defendant, Branden C. Marshall, for a reduction in sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) [DN 90]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 6, 2016, Marshall was named in a six-count indictment filed in the Western District of Kentucky. On September 14, 2016, Marshall entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 or more of methamphetamine; two counts of possession with intent to distribute a detectable amount of methamphetamine; and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. On March 28, 2017, the Court sentenced Marshall to 135 months imprisonment and a term of 5 years supervised release.

         Marshall requested compassionate release from FMC Lexington Warden Francisco Quintana on July 29, 2019. On September 3, 2019, Marshall filed this current motion for a reduction in sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). At the direction of the Court, the United States Probation Office submitted a preliminary investigation report [DN 92]. The parties filed a response and a reply. [DN 93, DN 94]. The United States maintains that a FMC Lexington legal department representative indicated that Marshall's request was denied on August 26, 2019. Marshall argues that the extraordinary and compelling reasons for which he seeks relief pertain to his grandfather's declining health and diagnosis of leukemia in May of 2019. According to Marshall, his grandfather is 70 years old, experiences numbness in both arms, has seven bulging discs, has tumor at the bottom of his brain stem, continually has to be placed in the hospital, and must see his doctors in Louisville, Kentucky, two to three times a week. Marshall represents that his grandfather is no longer able to drive and can no longer care for himself at home. Marshall seeks to be released to home confinement for the remainder of his unserved sentence in order to serve as his grandfather's primary caregiver. The United States objects to Marshall's compassionate release request arguing that Marshall fails to satisfy any of the requirements of compassionate release.

         II. DISCUSSION

         In 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act which, among other things, amended 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) to permit courts to “consider motions by defendants for compassionate release without a motion” by the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) Director “so long as the defendant has asked the Director to bring such a motion and the Director fails or refuses.” United States v. Beck, No. 1:13-CR-186-6, 2019 WL 2716505, at *5 (M.D. N.C. June 28, 2019). The compassionate relief analysis under the §3582(c) requires the Court to examine the following factors in determining whether the proposed sentence reduction is warranted: “(1) ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons;' (2) ‘applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission[;]' and (3) ‘the factors set forth in [18 U.S.C. §] 3553(a).'” United States v. Willis, 382 F.Supp.3d 1185, 1187 (D.N.M. 2019)(quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i)). See also United States v. Adams, No. 6:94CR302, 2019 WL 3751745, *4 (M.D. N.C. Aug. 8, 2019) (an initial finding of extraordinary and compelling circumstances is further evaluated by the applicable policy statements in United States Sentencing Guidelines § 1B1.13 and the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)). See also Bureau of Prisons Compassionate Release/Reduction in Sentence Policy Statement 5050.50 (outlining similar factors that should be considered by the BOP for reduction in sentence requests).

         A. Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons

         1. Medical Impairments

         The Sentencing Commission describes two categories that would qualify as extraordinary and compelling reasons for a sentence reduction for medical impairments:

The first category applies to prisoners 65 or older who have served at least 10 years (or 75%) of their sentence and are experiencing “serious deterioration . . . because of the aging process.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13, app. note. The second category . . . applies to younger prisoners “suffering from a terminal illness” or “a serious . . . medical condition that substantially diminishes the ability . . . to provide self-care within the environment of the correctional facility.” Id.

Willis, 382 F.Supp.3d at 1187-1188 (quoting U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13 Application Notes 1(A) and (B)). Marshall, who is 30 years old, seeks compassionate release not because of his own medical conditions or deterioration from the aging process, but instead because of the declining health of his grandfather. For this reason, the Court finds that Marshall has not shown that his medical conditions meet the criteria for extraordinary and compelling reasons.

         2. Family Circumstances

         The Sentencing Commission describes two categories that would qualify as extraordinary and compelling reasons for a sentence ...


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