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United States v. Brookins

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 31, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ANTHONY BROOKINS, Defendant.

          OPINION

          JOY FLOWERS CONTI SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the court is a motion for reduction of sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 (the “First Step Act”), Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (ECF No. 145) filed by defendant Anthony Brookins (“Brookins” or “defendant”). For the reasons set forth in this opinion, the motion for reduction will be granted. The court will exercise its discretion and sentence Brookins under the First Step Act to a term of imprisonment of 180 months and a term of supervised release of eight years.

         II. Background

         On April 15, 2008, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Brookins with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii). (ECF No. 1.) On October 22, 2008, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Brookins with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (“count one”) and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) (“count two”). (ECF No. 38.) Brookins entered a plea of not guilty to both counts. (ECF No. 43.)

         On March 27, 2009, the government filed an information, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851. (ECF No. 55.) The information provided that Brookins had four prior felony convictions for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. (Id. at 1-2.)

         On May 11, 2009, a jury trial commenced on the charges in the superseding indictment pending against Brookins. On May 14, 2009, a jury convicted petitioner on both counts. (ECF No. 78.) On May 20, 2009, the court entered a presentence order scheduling, among other things, the filing of the presentence investigation report and the sentencing hearing. (ECF No. 80.)

         On April 1, 2010, the court held a sentencing hearing. The court made the following findings, among others, with respect to Brookins' advisory guideline range:

- counts one and two would be grouped and the guidelines applicable to the count two, U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, would be applied to the group, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3D1.3(a);
- Brookins was responsible for 62.47 grams of cocaine base, and, therefore, a base offense of 30 was applicable, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(5);
- the base offense level was increased by two levels pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1), for an adjusted offense level of 32, because Brookins possessed a dangerous weapon (a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson Iver Johnson Arms revolved loaded with four rounds) in connection with count two; - Brookins was a career offender, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, and, therefore, his adjusted offense level was 37;
- Brookins' criminal history score was nine, which was comprised of six criminal history points, two points for committing counts one and two while on probation, and one point for committing counts one and two less than two years after being released from imprisonment;
- nine criminal history points resulted in a criminal history category of IV; Brookins' status as a career offender, however, mandated a criminal history category of VI, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1;
- the statutory maximum penalty at count one was ten years, i.e., 120 months, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2);
- the statutory minimum penalty at count two was twenty years and the maximum term of imprisonment at count two was life, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(a)(iii), 846, and 851;
- Chapter 5, Part A of the guidelines provides that a total offense level of 37 and a criminal history category of VI results in a guideline range for imprisonment of 360 months to life imprisonment;
- the statutory maximum term of supervised release at count one was three years, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2) and the mandated statutory term of supervised release at count two was ten years, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii);
- the guideline range for supervised release at count one was three to five years, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.2(a)(2) and the guideline term for supervised release was ten years, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.2(a)(2) and (b);
- Brookins was not statutorily or under the guidelines eligible for probation at either count, 18 U.S.C. § 3561(a)(2) and (3), 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(ii), U.S.S.G. 5B1.1(b)(2), and U.S.S.G. § 5C1.1(f);
- the maximum statutory fine to be imposed at count one was $250, 000.00, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571(b)(3);
- the maximum statutory fine to be imposed at count two was $8 million, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii);
- the guideline fine range applicable to Brookins was $20, 000.00 to $8 million; and - Brookins was required to pay a special assessment of $100.00 at each count, for a total special assessment of $200.00, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3013.

         Counsel for Brookins argued to the court for a term of imprisonment of twenty years. (H.T. 4/1/2010 (ECF No. 107) at 16.) The government did not request a guideline sentence, i.e., a term of imprisonment in the guideline range of 360 months to life; rather, the government requested a sentence “anywhere between 200 and 360 months.” (Id. at 19.) The court granted Brookins' request for a variance and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of 120 months (ten years) at count one and a term of imprisonment of 240 months (twenty years) at count two, with the terms of imprisonment to concurrently run. (Id. at 36.) The court imposed upon Brookins at count one a term of supervised release of three years and at count two a term of supervised release of ten years, to concurrently run, with the conditions of supervised release set forth on the record. (Id.)

         The court explained the reasons for its sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). With respect to the nature and ...


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