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United States v. Hohenkirk

United States District Court, E.D. New York

December 13, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
TERRENCE HOHENKIRK, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          William F. Kuntz, II, United States District Judge.

         On February 12, 2019, Terrence Hohenkirk ("Defendant") pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment. The Court now sentences him and provides a complete statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2) of those factors set forth by Congress and contained in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). For the reasons discussed below, Defendant is hereby sentenced to time served and a $ 100.00 special assessment.

         BACKGROUND

         On August 3, 2018, the Government filed an Indictment charging Defendant with one count of Importation of Cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 960(a)(1), and 960(b)(2)(B)(ii). Indictment, ECF No. 9. On February 12, 2019, Defendant pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment pursuant to a plea agreement. See Plea Agreement, ECF No. 22.

         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 sentence in a criminal case. The "starting point and the initial benchmark" in evaluating a criminal sentence is the Guidelines sentencing range. Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 49(2007). 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 or varying "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-0332, 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. 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 on November 6, 1994 in Linden, Guyana, to the non-marital union of Terrence Hohenkirk and Beverly Elcock, now deceased. Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") ¶ 25, ECF No. 23. His father, with whom Defendant reports he does not have a close relationship, resides in Linden and works as a gold miner. Id. Defendant has a close relationship with his one maternal half-sibling, who resides in Georgetown, Guyana, and does not have a close relationship with his three paternal half-siblings, all of whom reside in Linden. Id. ¶ 26. He was primarily raised by his paternal grandparents under lower-income economic circumstances in Guyana. Id. ¶ 27. Twice per month, Defendant and his cousins did not have enough food. Id. Despite these financial hardships, Defendant reported having an "okay" childhood, devoid of any forms of abuse. Id. In 2012, Defendant graduated from high school in Guyana, and in 2017, obtained a certificate in accounting at the Computer World Institute in Georgetown. Id. ¶ 35. In Guyana, Defendant has held jobs as a laundry attendant for a hotel, a sales representative for a beverage company, and a customer service representative for a telemarketing company and call center. Id. ¶¶ 36-41.

         In 2014, Defendant married Sabrina Brown, who he had met online. Id. ¶ 28. The two knew each other for two and a half years prior to their marriage in Guyana. Addendum to the PSR at 1, ECF No. 29. Ms. Brown resides in Manchester, United Kingdom, and works as a supervisor for a hotel. Id. They do not have any children together. PSR ¶ 28. Defendant has not been able to contact his wife since prior to his arrest for the instant offense and is uncertain if she is aware of his conviction. Id. Upon his release from custody, Defendant intends to reside with Ms. ...


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