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United States v. Monroe

March 26, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD LAYMAN MONROE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER OF COURT DENYING MOTION FOR SENTENCE REDUCTION (DOC. NO. 297)

Before the Court is defendant Edward Layman Monroe's pro se Motion for a Reduction of Sentence (doc. no. 297) which requests this Court to reduce his 337 month term of imprisonment imposed on January 29, 1999, by a former colleague of this Court (the Honorable United States District Judge Robert J. Cindrich) to a term of 120 to 180 months imprisonment. Petitioner "moves pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the recent handed down by [sic] the UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION as it relates to the Crack Cocaine Sentences." Id. at 1. The government has filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Sentence Reduction (doc. no. 298).

Defendant mentions that he was sentenced "for possession and the distribution of Crack cocaine in excess of 5 kilos" in an apparent but cryptic attempt to invoke this Court's jurisdiction to reduce sentences under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Motion for Reduction of Sentence at ¶ 1. Petitioner also "motions the court to Observe Petitioner's Human Rights, Provide Equal Protection of Law and equate his sentence with that of one convicted of powder cocaine charges." Id. at ¶3. Other than these references, petitioner's motion seeks a sentence reduction in the 120 to 180 month range based primarily on his post sentencing behavior and rehabilitation while incarcerated in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, where he is serving a term of life imprisonment for murder of the first degree, served concurrently with his federal sentence. Petitioner attaches numerous certificates to evidence his progress and rehabilitative achievements.

After careful consideration of defendant's motion to reduce sentence, the government's response in opposition, and the record, the Court will dismiss the motion for lack of jurisdiction. The Court's jurisdiction to reduce a sentence is strictly limited. As a general matter, without specific authorization, a court cannot alter a term of imprisonment after it has been imposed. United States v. DeLeo, 644 F.2d 300, 301 (3d Cir. 1981).

By statute, a district court may entertain a motion to reduce sentence only for the following reasons:

(c) Modification of an imposed term of imprisonment.--The [district] court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except that--

(1) in any case--

(A) the court, upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, may reduce the term of imprisonment (and may impose a term of probation or supervised release with or without conditions that does not exceed the unserved portion of the original term of imprisonment), after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if it finds that--

(i) extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction; or

(ii) the defendant is at least 70 years of age, has served at least 30 years in prison, pursuant to a sentence imposed under section 3559(c), for the offense or offenses for which the defendant is currently imprisoned, and a determination has been made by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons that the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person or the community, as provided under section 3142(g); and that such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission; and

(B) the court may modify an imposed term of imprisonment to the extent otherwise expressly permitted by statute or by Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; and

(2) in the case of 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 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(o), upon motion of the defendant or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, or on its own motion, the court may reduce the term of imprisonment, after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

18 U.S.C § 3582 (b) and (c).

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons has not filed a motion to reduce petitioner's sentence based on the permitted factors in section 3582(c)(1)(A), and this Court has no jurisdiction to consider defendant's motion to reduce sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. United States v. Higgs, 504 F.3d 456 (3d Cir. 2007). Thus, the only possible basis for this Court to consider a reduction of sentence would be pursuant to section 3582(c)(2), if petitioner's sentence was based on a sentencing range subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(o), and only where such a reduction would be consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission. Hence, petitioner characterizes his sentence as being based ...


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