United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nicholas G. Garaufis United States District Judge
9, 2014, this court sentenced Defendant Carlton Coates
Griffits to a term of imprisonment of 57 months following his
guilty plea of illegal reentry after deportation in violation
of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. (J. (Dkt. 19); see also
Jan. 10, 2014, Min. Entry (Dkt. 13) (entry of guilty plea).)
Before the court are two prose motions, filed
February 9 and November 3, 2016, in which Defendant seeks a
reduction in sentence (the "Motions"). (Mot. to
Reduce Sent. ("Mot. I") (Dkt. 26); 2d Mot. to
Reduce Sent. ("Mot. II") (Dkt. 31).) Defendant
asserts three arguments: (1) that he was wrongly denied a
downward departure under the "fast track" program;
(2) that his sentence is unduly severe given that, as a
non-citizen, he is ineligible for certain benefits otherwise
available to incarcerated individuals; and (3) that he is
eligible for a sentence reduction based on a recent amendment
to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (the
"Guidelines"). For the reasons stated below, the
Motions are DENIED.
"FAST TRACK" PROGRAM
first argument is that, at the time of sentencing, he met the
eligibility requirements for the so-called "fast
track" program under USSG § 5K3.1, and that
"[t]he court violated his due right by refusing to
consider a 'fast track' downward departure in [his]
sentence." (Mot. I at 2-3.) The "fast track"
downward departure is only available "[u]pon motion of
the Government, " however. USSG § 5K3.1. At
Defendant's sentencing hearing, the Government stated on
the record that the Government "decided not to offer
[the fast track] program, " and that Defendant
"implicitly accepted that decision by accepting the plea
that was offered to him." (June 6, 2014, Sent'g Tr.
19:2-6; see also id 11:17-19 (defense counsel:
"I understand the government has discretion whether or
not to provide the fast track.").) The Government
declined to offer a discretionary "fast track"
downward departure. Defendant is therefore not entitled to
seek such a departure from the court.
RESTRICTIONS ON INCARCERATED NON-CITIZENS
"status as a deportable alien... makes him
ineligible" for certain benefits that are available to
incarcerated American citizens, such as credit for completing
drug rehabilitation programs or the ability to seek home
confinement in lieu of incarceration. (Mot. I at 3.)
Defendant argues that "the particular facts of [his]
case are [therefore] outside the 'Heartland' of the
Guideline case" for his crime, and that the court should
have considered a downward departure from the Guidelines
sentence. Id.. at 2-3.) This argument fails to account for
the nature of Defendant's crime. He entered a guilty plea
to illegal reentry after deportation, a crime that, by
definition, can only be committed by a deportable alien.
Defendant's status as a deportable alien is therefore
squarely within the heartland of cases envisioned
under the Guidelines. Defendant is not entitled to a sentence
reduction on this basis.
THE GUIDELINES AMENDMENT
third and final argument is that he is eligible for a
sentence reduction under Guidelines Amendment 802, which
lowered the offense-level enhancements applicable to certain
illegal reentry offenses. See generally U.S.S.G.
App. C (Supp.) at 146-59 (2016) (amending USSG §§
2L1.1, 2L1.2). Amendment 802 had an effective date of
November 1, 2016, well after Defendant's sentencing. The
court finds that Amendment 802 does not apply retroactively,
and that Defendant is therefore not entitled to a sentence
the United States Sentencing Commission lowers the Guidelines
sentencing range for a particular crime, a
previously-sentenced defendant may be eligible for a sentence
reduction under the amended Guidelines if such
"reduction is consistent with applicable policy
statements issued by the Sentencing Commission." 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
provision "establishes a two-step inquiry."
Dillon v. United States. 560 U.S. 817, 826 (2010).
"First, the district court must determine whether the
defendant in question is 'eligible for a
reduction in sentence.'" United States v.
Christie. 736 F.3d 191, 194 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
United States v. Mock. 612 F.3d 133, 137 (2d Cir.
2010)). There is "no constitutional requirement of
retroactivity that entitles defendants sentenced to a term of
imprisonment to the benefit of subsequent Guidelines
amendments." Dillon. 560 U.S. at 828. "A
court's power under § 3582(c)(2) thus depends in the
first instance on the Commission's decision not just to
amend the Guidelines but to make the amendment
retroactive." Id. at 826; see also 28
U.S.C. § 994(u) (authorizing the Sentencing Commission
to determine "in what circumstances and by what
amount" sentence reductions shall apply retroactively).
the prisoner is eligible for a reduction, the district
court" next "'determines whether, in its
discretion, the reduction... is warranted in whole or in part
under the particular circumstances of the case.'"
United States v. Green, __ F. App.'x __, 2016 WL
7018345, *1 (2d Cir. Dec. 1, 2016) (summary order)
(alterations omitted) (quoting Dillon. 560 U.S. at
827); see also United States v. Wilson. 716 F.3d 50,
52 (2d Cir. 2013) (per curiam).
certain other Guidelines amendments, Amendment 802 was not
expressly made retroactive by the Sentencing Commission. See
USSG § IB 1.10(d) (listing amendments with retroactive
effect). Even so, Amendment 802 could apply retroactively if
it was merely "a clarification, rather than a
substantive change." United States v. Amico,573 F.3d 150, ...