United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
the Court is Petitioner Lataris Waters' Motion for
Modification of Sentence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2) Based on a Retroactive Amendment to the United
States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”). (Doc.
545). Upon consideration, Petitioner's motion is
means of a superseding information filed on October 15, 2015,
Petitioner was charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent
to Distribute Cocaine and Cocaine Base in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(B). (Doc.
347). Petitioner waived prosecution by indictment and pled
guilty to the information on October 26, 2015. (Docs. 372,
374). Petitioner was sentenced on February 25, 2016 to a term
of imprisonment of 60 months, followed by four (4) years
supervised release. (Doc. 500). Petitioner did not appeal her
conviction. (Doc. 497).
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c), a district court may not modify a
term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except: (1)
upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons; (2)
when “expressly permitted by statute or by Rule 35 of
the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure”; or (3) when
the “term of imprisonment [is] based on a sentencing
range that has subsequently been lowered” by an
amendment to the Sentencing Guidelines. See 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c). Petitioner here argues under §
3582(c)(2) that Amendment 794, which applies to U.S.S.G.
§ 3B1.2 and addresses mitigating role reductions,
applies retroactively to reduce her term of
apparent from Petitioner's Final Presentence
Investigation Report (“PSR”) that her sentence
was calculated according to the 2015 Guideline Manual, which
incorporated all guideline amendments, including Amendment
794. (Doc. 486, § 22). The PSR further reflects a two
point reduction in Petitioner's offense level as a minor
participant in the conspiracy. (Id. at § 27).
This two point reduction was included in the calculation of
Petitioner's total offense level. Based on a total
offense level of 23 and a criminal history category of one
(I), Petitioner's guideline imprisonment range became 46
to 57 months. (Id. at § 55). However, because
Petitioner was subject to a mandatory minimum term of
imprisonment of five years, and because that statutorily
required minimum sentence was greater than the maximum
applicable guideline range, her sentence remained 60 months.
(Id.); see also U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b).
district court is not authorized to sentence a defendant
below the statutory mandatory minimum unless the government
filed a substantial assistance motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(e) and U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 or the defendant
falls within the safety-valve of 18 U.S.C. §
3553(f).” United States v. Castaing-Sosa, 530
F.3d 1358, 1360 (11th Cir. 2008). In this case, the
government did not file a substantial assistance motion, nor
did Petitioner qualify for safety-valve relief; therefore the
district court could not deviate from the mandatory minimum
sentence. Id.; see also United States v.
Carillo-Ayala, 713 F.3d 82, 88 (11th Cir. 2013) (because
a “mandatory minimum sentence trumps and advisory
Guideline calculation . . . [, ] a first-time offender with a
relatively small role in a crime involving a threshold
quantity of drugs might find himself sentenced to a five- or
ten-year prison term even through his advisory Guideline
range suggests a significantly lower sentence”)
(internal citations omitted).
no other statutory basis to reduce Petitioner's sentence,
the Court DENIES Petitioner's motion for
foregoing reasons, Petitioner's motion for modification
of her sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) is