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United States v. Morffe

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 5, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARIO ANTONIO JAVIER MORFFE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II, United States District Judge

         On September 20, 2016, Mario Antonio Javier Morffe ("Defendant"), 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 of incarceration and a $ 100.00 special assessment.

         BACKGROUND

         On January 29, 2016, the United States filed a Complaint against Defendant alleging he had unlawfully imported cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, into the United States. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1. The subsequent Indictment, filed on February 22, 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 1-2, ECF No. 5. On September 20, 2016, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count One of the Indictment pursuant to a Plea Agreement. See Plea Agreement, ECF No. 17.

         The 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. § 3553(c)(2).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         18 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.

         "The 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.

         II. Analysis A. Factor One: The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense and the History and Characteristics of the Defendant

         The 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. § 3553(a)(1).

         Defendant was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 21, 1979, to unmarried parents. Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") ¶ 27, ECF No. 18. Defendant's father broke up with Defendant's mother during her pregnancy for reasons unknown to Defendant, and Defendant has never met his father. Id. Defendant and his half-brother were raised by his mother "under impoverished economic conditions, " but Defendant reported having had a normal childhood. Id. ¶ 28. When Defendant was eleven years old, his mother married Matias Aybar, with whom Defendant also maintains a good relationship. Id. ¶ 29; see also Def.'s Sentencing Mem. at 1-2 n.2, ECF No. 20 (noting correct spelling of Defendant's stepfather's name). Indeed, Defendant maintains "close and loving relationships with all family members, " including his mother, "who continues to reside in the Dominican Republic, [and] suffers from diabetes, depression, and financial problems." PSR ¶ 27.

         Defendant has "had to stop studying periodically due to various life occurrences, " but he obtained his high school diploma in 1997 and took classes toward his bachelor's degree-which he has yet to earn-from 1998 to 2015. PSR ¶ 37; see also Def.'s Sentencing Mem. at 1-2 n.2 (explaining Defendant "needs to complete five more semesters" to obtain his degree). Defendant does, however, have a lengthy employment history: Between 1992 and 2007, he worked as a salesperson for an office supplies distributor; a switchboard operator; a salesperson for a cellular telephone dealer; a factory employee for a pharmaceuticals manufacturer; and an accounting employee for an electrical generator plant. PSR ¶ 43. From 2007 to 2014, he worked in the accounting department for a company that "handled franchises for supermarkets, toy stores, and hardware stores, " but he resigned after his immediate supervisor blocked his promotion. Id. ¶ 42. Prior to his arrest, Defendant was working as a salesperson at a wholesale pharmaceuticals distributor in which capacity he was earning between 25, 000 and 50, 000 Dominican pesos a month, depending on commission. Id. ¶ 41.

         From 2003 to 2007, Defendant was in a long-term romantic relationship with Betzaida Pilarte. Id. ¶ 30. Defendant and Ms. Pilarte had a son, who is about twelve years old and suffers from Down syndrome. Id. Prior to his arrest, Defendant saw his son every two weeks and provided 2, 000 Dominican pesos in court-ordered support each month. Id. Ms. Pilarte reportedly "was upset to learn of the defendant's arrest because she is now not receiving financial support" and "is experiencing financial difficulties." Id. In August 2008, Defendant married Yassmine Ramirez. Id. ¶ 31. The couple have a child together who is currently about nine years old. Id. Defendant and Ms. Ramirez divorced in 2014 "because they were not getting ...


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