The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge
Defendant Jubelequis Mateo ("Mateo") pled guilty before this Court to
conspiring to distribute heroin. She now moves the Court to adjust
downward the base level offense under the Sentencing Guidelines because
she played only a minor role in the offense. She also moves the Court to
depart downwardly from the otherwise applicable sentencing range because,
among other reasons, she has suffered from harsh pre-sentence confinement
conditions and has extraordinary family circumstances. For the reasons
stated, Mateo's motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Mateo, age 22, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in
2001, hoping to be able to earn enough money to provide for her daughter
Arianni, whom she left in
the care of her mother (Arianni's grandmother) in the Dominican
Republic. Arianni's father has a long history of physically abusing Mateo
and is no longer involved in Arianni's upbringing.
Mateo found work as a waitress in New Jersey. One night after work, she
attended a party at which she was raped and became pregnant. During this
time, Mateo met a drug supplier who learned that Mateo had financial
problems. Mateo's involvement with this supplier led to the conviction at
issue here. In early 2002, Mateo attempted to broker two large heroin
transactions by providing drug samples on behalf of the supplier to
persons who had called her seeking to buy two kilograms of heroin. In the
first transaction, Mateo arrived with her supplier at the agreed-upon
delivery point, but the buyer declined to meet her. Authorities arrested
Mateo in March 2002, before the second transaction was complete. The
first potential buyer was an confidential government source, the second
an undercover government agent.
Following her arrest, Mateo was first incarcerated at the Metropolitan
Detention Center in Brooklyn (the "MDC"), where she stayed in an "open
unit" with around 100 other inmates. At that time, Mateo was
approximately six weeks pregnant. From then through October 2002, Mateo
received regular pregnancy-related care at the MDC and on occasion at
outside prison. On October 30, 2002, she complained of contractions
and was examined by MDC medical staff, who noted that Mateo showed no
signs of labor and estimated her date of delivery to be around November
25, 2002. She was returned to her housing unit.
At around 3:00 a.m. on November 5, 2002, Mateo awoke with labor pains.
Another inmate, Wendy Castro Fernandez ("Fernandez"), notified the guard
that Mateo was in labor, but he told her that Mateo would have to wait
until 6:00 a.m. for the physician's assistant (the "PA") to arrive.
According to Fernandez, at 6:00 a.m. she again asked the guard for help,
but he told her she would have to wait longer. At around 8:00 a.m., after
the guards had changed shifts, Fernandez alerted the new guard on duty
that Mateo was in labor. The PA on duty appeared sometime between 10:00
a.m. and 11:00 a.m., but left without fully examining Mateo. He
apparently concluded that, since Mateo's due date was not until November
25, she could not have been in labor.
During the balance of day, other inmates alerted the authorities on
Mateo's behalf, but she was not moved out of the open unit until sometime
between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., at which point she was transferred to
the medical unit. The PA finally called the emergency service for an
ambulance sometime around 6:30 p.m. when it became apparent that Mateo
to give birth. A team of Emergency Medical Technicians arrived
shortly thereafter and noticed that, even though Mateo was "crowning"
(the baby's head had begun to emerge), she was still wearing her
underwear. Mateo gave birth while laying on an upright stretcher in the
MDC at 6:53 p.m., without the benefit of pain relief or other medication.
Mateo's sister Maritza, who lives in Boston, Masachusetts, now cares for
the child, a boy named Johan.
Maritza's husband objected to her assuming custody of Johan, and he has
since abandoned Maritza. Maritza reports extreme financial, difficulty in
raising Johan alone. Mateo's mother, Josephina Medina ("Medina"), also
reports extreme difficulty in raising Arianni alone in the Dominican
Republic. Medina suffers from high blood pressure and poor vision.
On February 28, 2003, an MDC corrections officer accused Mateo and her
cellmate of smoking in their cells. The women denied the allegation. The
officer threatened to file a report, unless the women would undress in
front of him. They complied. The officer returned the next day, March 1,
and again requested the women undress in front of him. They refused, and
filed a formal complaint against the officer.
Mateo reports being depressed and has seen a prison psychiatrists
several times. Psychiatric records indicate she was seen for symptoms of
post traumatic stress disorder,
anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, insomnia and substance abuse.
Shortly after the sexual harassment incident, Mateo was briefly placed on
As a general rule, the Court must use the Sentencing Guidelines Manual
in effect at the date of sentencing. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4)
(A) (ii); see also United States Sentencing
Guidelines Manual § 1B1.11 (2002) ("U.S.S.G."). However, "where
application of the Guidelines in effect at sentencing would result in a
more severe sentence than the version in effect at the time of the
commission of the offense," the application of the newer guidelines would
violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution. United States
v. Broderson, 67 F.3d 452, 456 (2d Cir. 1995). In such cases, "the
court shall use the Guidelines Manual in effect on the date that the
offense of conviction was committed." U.S.S.G. § 1B1.11(b)(1). "When
an amended version of a guideline represents only a clarification by the
Sentencing Commission of the original version rather than a substantive
change," there is no Ex Post Facto problem and "the amended version is to
be applied." United States v. Gonzalez, 281 F.3d 38, 46 (2d
After the Probation Department prepared its Presentence Investigation
Report, and after the parties had briefed the
issues here, the Sentencing Commission issued emergency revised
guidelines effective October 27, 2003, pursuant to the recently-enacted
PROTECT Act, Pub. L. 108-21, 117 Stat 650 (2003). See 60 Fed.
Reg. 60154 (Oct. 21, 2003). Those revisions might result in a more severe
sentence for Mateo in at least two ways. First, the revisions prohibit
combining so-called "considered" and "unconsidered" factors in awarding
a downward departure based on multiple circumstances. Id. at
60155 (amending § 5K2.0(c)(2)(B)). Mateo has urged the Court to make
just such a multiple circumstances departure. Second, the revision
"further restricts family ties departures by adding an application note
that establishes heightened criteria for departures based on loss of
caretaking or financial support." Id. at 60175 (amending §
5H1.6). Mateo has moved the Court to make a departure based on the fact
that her two young children will be deprived of her financial support and
caretaking. Because the Sentencing Commission has indicated that this
revision establishes ...