United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO REDUCE
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 20, 2001, the Honorable Alan H. Nevas, Senior Judge
for the District of Connecticut, sentenced Lonnie Jones
(“Petitioner”) to life imprisonment and five
years of supervised release following his conviction by jury
trial of conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and cocaine
base as well as distribution of the same, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and (b)(1)(A). J. as to
Lonnie Jones, ECF No. 804.
Jones also pled guilty to aiding and abetting the possession
of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. §922(k), and received a sentence of five
years imprisonment and three years of supervised release, to
run concurrently with his life sentence. Id.
remand, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided United
States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, (2005), declaring the
United States Sentencing Guidelines as advisory,
Judge Nevas re-sentenced Mr. Jones to a non-Guidelines
sentence of 324 months imprisonment with five years of
supervised release for the drug offenses and 60 months
imprisonment with three years of supervised release for the
gun offense, to run concurrently. Re-Sentencing J. as to
Lonnie Jones, ECF No. 2140, at 1.
Second Circuit affirmed this sentence and also indicated that
Mr. Jones was not eligible under the Guidelines, as amended
at the time, for a reduction in his sentence. United
States v. Jones, 294 Fed.Appx. 624, 627-28 (2d Cir.
2008). The Court of Appeals reasoned that the applicable
amendment Mr. Jones sought to invoke addressed crack cocaine
but that the large quantity of heroin for which Mr. Jones was
responsible would still trigger the same offense level,
making the crack-to-powder cocaine ratio irrelevant.
Id. (citations omitted).
Jones now moves, pro se, under Title 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2) for retroactive application of Amendments
750 and 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Mot.
to Reduce Sent., ECF No. 2427. In his motion, Mr. Jones seeks
to reduce his prison sentence to 210 months. Id. at
following reasons, Mr. Jones' motion to reduce his
sentence is DENIED.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
section 3582(c)(2) of Title 18 of the United States Code,
“a defendant who has been sentenced to a term of
imprisonment based on a sentencing range that has
subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission”
may move for a reduction in his sentence. Upon such motion, a
district court must follow a “two-step approach.”
Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 826-27
At step one, the court must consider whether the defendant is
eligible for a reduction by calculating the Guidelines range
that would have been applicable had the amended Guidelines
been in place at the time the defendant originally was
sentenced . . . . At step two . . ., § 3582(c)(2)
instructs a court to consider any applicable § 3553(a)
factors and determine whether, in its discretion, the
reduction . . . is warranted in whole or in part under the
particular circumstances of the case.
United States v. Bethea, 735 F.3d 86, 87 (2d Cir.
2013) (alterations in original) (citations omitted). The
decision to reduce a sentence under an amended Guidelines
provision, as well as to what extent, is at the discretion of
the sentencing court. See United States v. Thomas,
361 Fed.Appx. 174, 175 (2d Cir. 2010) (“Where a
defendant was sentenced based on a Guidelines sentencing
range that a subsequent guideline amendment lowered, a
district court has discretion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2) to reduce that defendant's term of
Jones first contends that he is eligible for a reduction in
his sentence under Amendment 750 to the United States
Sentencing Guidelines. Mot. to Reduce Sent. at
5.Amendment 750 reduced the base offense
level for certain quantities of crack cocaine, effective
November 1, 2011. United States v. Erskine, 717 F.3d
131, 133 (2d Cir. 2013). Probation and the Government both
argue that Mr. Jones is not eligible for a reduction in his
sentence under this amendment. Retro-Crack Addendum to the
Presentence Report 2, ECF No. 2371; Gov't. Memo. 1, ECF
No. 2387. Mr. Jones also contends, and the Probation Office
agrees, that he is eligible for a reduction under section
3582(c)(2) based on Amendment 782 to the United States
Sentencing Guidelines. Mot. to Reduce Sent at 5, ECF No.
2427; Presentence Investigation Report, ECF No. 2428. The
782, effective November 1, 2014, reduced by two levels the
offense levels assigned to the quantities of controlled
substances that trigger the statutory mandatory minimum
penalties in U.S.S.G. section 2D1.1 and made parallel changes
to section 2D1.11. United States v. Vargas, 74
F.Supp.3d 601, 602 (S.D.N.Y. 2015). The Government argues
that Mr. Jones is not eligible for a reduction in his
sentence because applying Amendment 782 does not lower ...