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United States v. Miller

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

November 6, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
FREDDIE MILLER, 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. 771) filed by defendant Freddie Miller (“Miller” or “defendant”). For the reasons set forth in this opinion, the motion for reduction will be granted in part and denied in part. The court will reduce Miller's term of supervised release, but declines to reduce his term of imprisonment.

         II. Background

         On March 31, 2007, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Miller with: (1) conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, and 5 kilograms or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (count one); (2) one count of possessing with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) (count fifteen); (3) one count of possessing with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) (count twenty); and (4) one count of possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) (count twenty-one). (ECF No. 15). On February 9, 2009, Miller entered a plea of guilty to count fifteen of the indictment. (ECF No. 384.)

         On June 12, 2009, the court held a sentencing hearing. (Hearing Transcript (“H.T.”) 6/12/2019 (ECF No. 466).) The court's findings with respect to the statutory penalties and applicable guidelines were, in pertinent part, as follows:

(1) the base offense level was 32;
(2) the offense level was reduced by 2 points because the offense involved cocaine base and at least one other controlled substance;
(3) the offense level was increased by two levels because a dangerous weapon was possessed in connection with the offense;
(4) Miller was a career offender as defined in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a), and, therefore, his base offense level was 37;
(5) the offense level was decreased by 2 levels because Miller accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct;
(6) the offense level was decreased by 1 level because Miller timely notified the government of his intention to plead guilty;
(7) the total adjusted offense level was 34;
(8) Miller had 16 criminal history points, and, because he is a career offender, his criminal history category was VI;
(9) the statutory minimum term of imprisonment was ten years and the statutory maximum term of imprisonment was life;
(10) the applicable guideline range for imprisonment was 262 months to 327 months;
(11) the statutory minimum term of supervised release and the applicable guideline term of supervised release was five years;
(12) the statutory maximum fine to be imposed was $4, 000, 000.00; and (13) the applicable guideline fine range was $17, 500.00 to $4, 000, 000.00.

(Id. at 7-12.)

         Counsel for Miller requested the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years. (Id. at 13.) The government explained that it generally was the policy of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to request the court to sentence defendants convicted of crack-cocaine offenses under the guidelines by applying a 1-to-1 ratio with powder cocaine. (Id. at 14.) The government, however, explained that if the defendant was a “violent-type offender…[and]…firearms were involved[, ]” the DOJ policy was to request courts to sentence defendants convicted of crack-cocaine offenses by applying the 100-to-1 ratio with powder cocaine. (H.T. 6/12/2019 (ECF No. 466) at 14.) The government pointed out that three firearms were found with the crack cocaine attributed to Miller and Miller was previously convicted of a robbery in which he used a firearm to rob a victim while asking the victim whether he was selling marijuana. (Id.) The government argued that even if ...


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