United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROCKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court In the case of United States v.
Franklin, 5:08-cr-50060, are:
• Defendant Joe L. Franklin's Motion to Reduce
Sentence (Doc. 85) and the Government's Response (Doc.
before the Court in the case of United States v. Davis
& Moorehead, No. 5:07-cr-50037, are:
• Defendant Maci Denon Davis's Motion to Reduce
Sentence (Doc. 123) and the Government's Response (Doc.
• Defendant Ronald Antonio Moorehead's Motion to
Reduce Sentence (Doc. 114) and the Government's Response
Memorandum Opinion and Order addresses and rules upon issues
that are common to all three of these Motions. Other matters
that are unique to each Motion will be ruled upon in separate
Orders-each of which will be filed on the docket for the case
in which its movant is a party-in accordance with this
Memorandum Opinion and Order.
2010, the Fair Sentencing Act was passed by Congress and
signed by the President. Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act effectively reduced certain statutory
penalties for crack-cocaine offenses, thus lowering the
federal sentencing disparity between crack- and
powder-cocaine crimes. See Fair Sentencing Act of
2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, §§ 2-3, 124 Stat. 2372,
2372 (2010). Eight years later, the First Step Act of 2018
was passed and signed, enacting a wide range of various
criminal-justice reforms. Among those many reforms was a
provision designed to make Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act retroactively applicable to defendants who had
been sentenced before the Fair Sentencing Act became law.
That provision is located in Section 404 of the First Step
Act, which reads as follows:
(a) DEFINITION OF COVERED OFFENSE.-In this section, the term
"covered offense" means a violation of a Federal
criminal statute, the statutory penalties for which were
modified by section 2 or 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
(Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372), that was committed
before August 3, 2010.
(b) DEFENDANTS PREVIOUSLY SENTENCED.-A court that imposed a
sentence for a covered offense may, on motion of the
defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prison, the attorney
for the Government, or the court, impose a reduced sentence
as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
(Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at the
time the covered offense was committed.
(c) LIMITATIONS.-No court shall entertain a motion made under
this section to reduce a sentence if the sentence was
previously imposed or previously reduced in accordance with
the amendments made by sections 2 and 3 of the Fair
Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372)
or if a previous motion made under this section to reduce the
sentence was, after the date of enactment of this Act, denied
after a complete review of the motion on the merits. Nothing
in this section shall be construed to require a court to
reduce any sentence pursuant to this section.
First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 404, 132
Stat. 5194, 5222 (2018).
Franklin, Davis, and Moorehead were all sentenced in this
Court for crack offenses before the Fair Sentencing Act was
enacted. Now they are asking this Court to reduce their
sentences under Section 404 of the First Step Act. The
Government does not deny that these Defendants are eligible
for sentencing relief, and it does not oppose an award of
some of the relief they are requesting. But it
disagrees with these Defendants on the amounts by which their
sentences should be reduced, and on what type of proceedings
this Court should follow when awarding them relief.
three of these Defendants, when originally sentenced, were
found by this Court to have criminal histories that made them
"career offenders" as the United States Sentencing
Guidelines then defined that term; accordingly they all
received enhancements under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(b) which
yielded more severe advisory sentencing ranges than would
have applied absent their career-offender designations. This
is significant because all three Defendants contend that
subsequent developments in Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit
caselaw imply that they would not qualify as career offenders
if that analysis were performed anew today. Thus, all three
Defendants want the opportunity to challenge their
career-offender designations. Specifically, each of these
Defendants is seeking a complete resentencing, at a hearing
where the Defendant would be physically present. At those
resentencing hearings, each Defendant wants this Court to
perform a complete ...