November 26, 2015

Tenth Circuit: Defendant Not Entitled to Reduction in Sentence Based on Amendment 750 or FSA

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Hodge on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

In 2005, Larry Hodge pleaded guilty to knowingly and intentionally distributing approximately 23.2 grams of crack cocaine. Because Mr. Hodge had multiple prior felony convictions, he qualified as a career offender. The district court sentenced him to 188 months’ imprisonment.

In 2011, Mr. Hodge sought a reduction in his sentence based on Amendment 750 to the Sentencing Guidelines, which reduced the offense levels applicable to his crack cocaine offenses. Mr. Hodge also argued that the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) lowered the career offender guideline because it reduced the statutory maximum for his offense from forty to twenty years. The district court rejected both arguments and Hodge appealed.

The district court may modify a defendant’s term of imprisonment when he has been sentenced based on a range subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission and the reduction is otherwise consistent with policy statements in the guidelines. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The Tenth Circuit held that Mr. Hodge was not eligible for a reduction under Amendment 750 because he was sentenced under the career offender guideline rather than the crack cocaine guideline. Amendment 750 modified the Guidelines provisions pertaining to crack cocaine. The court further held that Mr. Hodge was not eligible for a reduction under the Fair Sentencing Act. Mr. Hodge was sentenced in 2006. The FSA was not effective until 2010, and it is not retroactive.


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