United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
D. WHITTEMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendant's Motion to Reduce
Sentence Pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018 (Dkt. 235)
and the United States' response (Dkt. 238). Defendant's
motion is GRANTED.
was convicted after a jury trial of conspiracy to possess
with intent to distribute cocaine base (Count One) and
possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute (Count
Two) (Dkt. 65). He was sentenced to concurrent life terms
(Dkt. 112). A term of supervised release was not imposed.
According to the sentencing judge: “Supervised release
inapplicable in this case, not eligible for release.”
404 of the First Step Act, Pub. L. No. 115-391, made
retroactive the reduction in statutory penalties modified by
the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-220, 124
Sta. 2372 (2010). See First Step Act of 2018, Pub.
L. No. 115-391, § 404(b), 132 Stat. 5194 (2018).
First Step Act authorizes a court to “impose a reduced
(b) Defendants Previously Sentenced. A court that imposed a
sentence for a covered offense may, on motion of the
defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the
attorney for the Government, or the court, impose a reduced
sentence as if sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010 (Public Law 111-220; 124 Stat. 2372) were in effect at
the time the covered offense was committed.
Id. at 5222. Since the First Step Act expressly
authorizes a court to modify a term of imprisonment, it
serves as a basis for relief under 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(1)(B) (“The court may not modify a term of
imprisonment once it has been imposed except that ... the
court may modify an imposed term of imprisonment to the
extent otherwise expressly permitted by statute . . .
offenses of conviction are “covered offenses, ”
as defined in Section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018, and
he is therefore eligible for a reduced sentence. The parties
agree that his sentence should be reduced from life to 262
months or time served, whichever is greater, on each count.
The only dispute is whether a term of supervised release may
be imposed, since a term of supervised release was not
imposed originally (Dkt. 95, 112). That dispute is readily
application of the Fair Sentencing Act reduces the statutory
penalties Defendant faces, and requires imposition of an 8
year term of supervised release. As the United States
correctly asserts, “[t]he First Step Act requires the
Court to ‘impose a reduced sentence as if sections 2
and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 . . . were in effect
at the time the covered offense was committed.'”
(Dkt. 238 at p. 1) (quoting First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L.
No. 115-391, § 404(b) (2018)). It follows that if the
Fair Sentencing Act had been in effect when Defendant was
sentenced, it would have required a sentence of 10 years to
life, and “a term of supervised release of at least 8
years in addition to such term of imprisonment.”
See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B).
plain language, the First Step Act only authorizes a
reduction in a defendant's term of imprisonment. And
Section 3582(c)(1)(B) authorizes a court to “modify an
imposed term of imprisonment to the extent otherwise
expressly permitted by statute ....” (emphasis
retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act requires
imposition of a term of supervised release. Moreover,
established precedent and statutory authority authorize
imposition of a term of supervised release as part of a
Circuit recognizes that a term of supervised release is
“‘a separate part' of, or in addition to, his
term of imprisonment.'” United States v.
West, 898 F.2d 1493, 1504 (11th Cir. 1990). But
supervised release is a component of a sentence. United
States v. English, 589 F.3d 1373, 1376 (11th Cir. 2009)
cert. denied 559 U.S. 984 (2010) (“. . . [F]ederal
policy dictates that the term of a defendant's supervised
release is ‘an independent part of the defendant's
sentence.'” (citation omitted). As the Supreme
Court has observed:
Today, we merely acknowledge that an accused's final
sentence includes any supervised release sentence he may
receive. Nor in saying that do we say anything new: This
Court has already recognized that supervised release
punishments arise from and are “treat[ed] ... as part
of the penalty for the initial offense.” (citation
omitted) The defendant receives a term of supervised release
thanks to his initial offense, . . . [and] it constitutes a
part of the final sentence for his crime.
United States v. Haymond, 139 S.Ct. 2369, 2379-80
(2019). Finally, Section 3683(a) “empowers a sentencing
court to include a term of supervised release as part of a
sentence.” See United Statesv. Cruz,