The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jan E. Dubois, J.
AND NOW, this 13th day of January 2009, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (Document No. 134, filed August 26, 2008); the Government's Response to Motion for Reduction of Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (Document No. 136, filed October 10, 2008); and the Reply to Government's Response to Defendant's Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (Document No. 137, October 28, 2008), for the reasons set forth in the attached Memorandum, IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2)is DENIED.
On May 26, 2005, the Honorable Marvin J. Katz sentenced defendant Warren Jackson to 120 months imprisonment followed by 6 years supervised release for offenses involving the attempted distribution of cocaine base ("crack"), in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The Motion is based on a retroactive amendment to the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G." or "Guidelines"), Amendment 706, which retroactively reduced the sentencing ranges applicable to crack cocaine offenses. See U.S.S.G. Supplement to App. C, Amend. 706; U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(c). Defendant contends that, under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), his sentence should be reduced because it was based on a sentencing range that has "subsequently been lowered." See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the Motion.
Defendant was sentenced on May 26, 2005. At sentencing, the Court approved the Guidelines calculations included in the Presentence Investigation Report, which were as follows. The Guidelines section applicable to defendant's crack cocaine offenses was U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, and the base offense level for the crimes committed by defendant was 18. After increase of the base offense level by two levels for possession of a dangerous weapon pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1), defendant's total offense level was determined to be 20. Based on defendant's criminal history, however, defendant was found to be a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, which raised his total offense level to 34. After decrease by three levels for timely acceptance of responsibility pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1, defendant's total offense level was 31. Under § 4B1.1(b), as a career offender, defendant was assigned a criminal history category of VI. This resulted in a Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months.
Judge Katz found the Guidelines range applicable to defendant to be 188 to 235 months-the career offender range. (Sentencing Tr. 39, May 26, 2005.) Determining that defendant was "entitled to some reduction from even the minimum guideline provision," Judge Katz varied downward from the Guideline range and sentenced defendant to 120 months imprisonment followed by 6 years supervised release. (Id.)
Pursuant to the principle of finality of judgments, "[g]enerally, a district court may not alter a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed." United States v. Wise, 515 F.3d 207, 220 (3d Cir. 2008). A district court may, however, modify a defendant's term of imprisonment where a defendant's sentence is "based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission . . . if such a reduction is consistent with the applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission" and is stated to apply retroactively. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The Application Notes to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 state that a reduction in the defendant's sentence is not authorized under § 3582(c)(2) and "is not consistent with this policy statement if . . . (ii) an amendment [to the Guidelines range] is applicable to the defendant but the amendment does not have the effect of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline range because of the operation of another guideline or statutory provision . . . ." U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 Application Note 1(A).
Section 3582(c)(2) of the United States Code provides a narrow exception to the general prohibition against modifying criminal sentences, and as such, limits a district court's jurisdiction to reduce sentences only as provided for in the statute. See United States v. Higgs, 504 F.3d 456, 464 (3d Cir. 2007). Accordingly, to be eligible for a sentence reduction under § 3582(c)(2), a defendant must have received a sentence that was "based on" a sentencing range that is ...