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United States v. Morris

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


March 23, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DEBORAH MORRIS, DEFENDANT

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

MEMORANDUM

On March 9, 2009, defendant Deborah Morris filed a motion to modify her sentence to home confinement (Document #102). The government has filed no response, but the motion will be dismissed because this court lacks jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

For more than four years (from January 1998 until February 2002), Morris defrauded the Medicare program by obtaining reimbursements for clinical services she never performed. She submitted fraudulent claims totaling $964,454.17 and received $278,507.05 in payments.

On December 7, 2006, after a seven-day jury trial, Morris was convicted of 34 counts of health care fraud (in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347), 14 counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud (in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341), and one count of making false statements (in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1035). On November 6, 2007, she was sentenced to sixty (60) months incarceration and three (3) years supervised release. She was ordered to pay $278,507.05 in restitution and a $4,900.00 special assessment. She is currently serving her sentence at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia. On March 9, 2009, Morris, proceeding pro se, filed the pending motion (Document #102).

II. ANALYSIS

Morris asks this court to modify her sentence to enable her to serve the remainder of her sentence at home. Under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and United States v. Higgs, 504 F.3d 456 (3d Cir. 2007), this court lacks jurisdiction to modify her sentence because more than seven days have passed since it was imposed. Generally, a district court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed. See, e.g., McMillan v. United States, 257 Fed.Appx. 477, 479 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing United States v. DeLeo, 644 F.2d 300, 301 (3d Cir.1981) and noting "that, as a general matter, a court cannot modify a term of imprisonment after it has been imposed without specific authorization"). Once a sentence is imposed, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is responsible for implementing it.*fn1

There are only limited circumstances under which a prisoner's sentence may be modified post-sentencing. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c), a prisoner's sentence may be modified only upon a motion for reduction by the Director of the BOP, as authorized by F.R.Cr.P. 35 or if the prisoner was "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)."

Here, the BOP has not recommended a reduction for Morris. Further, Morris does not seek a reduction due to a change in the Sentencing Guidelines. Finally, Rule 35 provides no authority to modify the sentence because more than seven days have passed since Morris' sentence was imposed. See Higgs, 504 F.3d at 464. Therefore, Morris' motion must be denied because this court has no jurisdiction to modify her sentence.

III.CONCLUSION

As this court has no jurisdiction, Morris' motion is dismissed. An appropriate Order follows.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 23rd day of March, 2009, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion to Modify Ordered Sentence Structure from Prison Confinement to Home Confinement (Document #102), it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is DENIED.

LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, J.


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