United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II UNITED STATES DIS/RICT JUDGE.
September 1, 2016, the defendant, Michael Charlton, pleaded
guilty to one count of Importation of Cocaine in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 952(a) and 21 U.S.C. 960(a)(1). The Court
now sentences the defendant and provides a complete statement
of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2) of those
factors set forth by Congress and the President and contained
in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). For the reasons discussed below,
the defendant is hereby sentenced to 12 months and 1 day
incarceration and a $100.00 special assessment.
April 9, 2016, the United States filed a Complaint against
Michael Charlton ("Defendant") alleging Defendant
had unlawfully imported cocaine, a Schedule II controlled
substance, into the United States. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1.
The subsequent Indictment, filed on April 25, 2016, charged
Defendant with two counts: (1) Importation of Cocaine in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 952(a) and 21 U.S.C. §
960(a)(1); and (2) Possession of Cocaine with Intent to
Distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 21
U.S.C. § 841 (b)(1)(C). Indictment at 1, ECF No. 7. On
September 1, 2016, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count One of
the Indictment pursuant to a Plea Agreement. See
Plea Agreement, ECF No. 17.
Court hereby sentences Defendant and sets forth its reasons
for Defendant's sentence using the rubric of the 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
U.S.C. § 3553 outlines the procedures for imposing a
sentence in a criminal case. If and when a district court
chooses to impose a sentence outside of the Sentencing
Guidelines range, the court "shall state in open court
the reasons for its imposition of the particular sentence,
and ... the specific reason for the imposition of a sentence
different from that described" in the Guidelines. 18
U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2). The court must also "state
with specificity" its reasons for so departing "in
a statement of reasons form." Id.
sentencing court's written statement of reasons shall be
a simple, fact-specific statement explaining why the
guidelines range did not account for a specific factor or
factors under § 3553(a)." United States v.
Davis, 08-CR-332, 2010 WL 1221709, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Mar.
29, 2010) (Weinstein, J.). Section 3553(a) provides a set of
seven factors for the Court to consider in determining what
sentence to impose on a criminal defendant. The Court
addresses each in turn.
Factor One: The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense and
the History and Characteristics of the Defendant
first § 3553(a) factor requires the Court to evaluate
"the nature and circumstances of the offense and the
history and characteristics of the defendant." 18 U.S.C.
was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on December 10, 1997, to
Norman Charlton and Jacquelyn Bailey. Presentence
Investigation Report ("PSR") ¶ 27, ECF No. 18.
Defendant's parents were never married, and he was raised
primarily by his mother, a schoolteacher. Id.
¶¶ 27, 29. Ms. Bailey has financially supported
Defendant for his entire life, including by paying to treat
his asthma, which he developed at age four. Id.
¶¶ 29, 32, 38. Between February 2010 and January
2011, both of Defendant's grandfathers passed away and
Defendant's father was killed in a gas explosion.
Id. ¶ 27; see also Bailey Support
Letter at 1, ECF No. 19-1. Shortly thereafter, Defendant
began to exhibit anger management issues. PSR ¶ 33. Ms.
Bailey invested in individual talk therapy with a counselor,
but the treatment did little to help Defendant. Id.
The situation grew worse in 2012, when Defendant began high
school at Kingston College in Jamaica. Id. ¶
37. He fell in "with the wrong crowd, " which
prompted Ms. Bailey to arrange for his transfer to Highdel
High School in September 2014. Id. In January 2015,
Ms. Bailey arranged for Defendant to transfer a second time,
to Linton Academy, for the same reason. Id.
Defendant's behavioral issues persisted, and he began to
smoke marijuana on a weekly basis. Id. ¶ 36.
Later that year, he sustained a collapsed lung after being
stabbed in the back during a fight. Id. ¶ 34.
Defendant nevertheless avoided disciplinary problems while in
school and as of his arrest date, he was in good academic
standing and on schedule to take his high school exit
examinations in May 2016. Id. ¶ 37.
April 8, 2016, Defendant was arrested at John F. Kennedy
International Airport ("JFK") in Queens, New York.
Id. ¶¶ 2, 37. Defendant's cousin,
Gavin Seaton, had arranged for Defendant to transport a
suitcase containing cocaine from Jamaica to the United
States. Id. ¶ 4. Defendant had received a
suitcase and $700.00 from two men in Jamaica, who instructed
Defendant to get a haircut and a shave and fly to JFK, where
he would meet Mr. Seaton and deliver the suitcase to an
address in Brooklyn, New York. Id. Defendant was
told he would be paid between $3, 000.00 and $4, 000.00, in
total, for completing the transaction. Id. When
Defendant arrived at JFK, however, he was selected for an
enforcement examination by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
("CBP") officers. Id. ¶ 2. After