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United States v. Johnson

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILIP E. JOHNSON, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Philip Johnson's motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (Dkt. No. 125). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 5, 1990, following Mr. Johnson's conviction of ten counts of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), ten counts of armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d), and seven counts of carrying a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), the Court sentenced Mr. Johnson to a total of 39 years and nine months of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release. (See Dkt. No. 132-2.) Mr. Johnson is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island and is scheduled for release on January 29, 2024. (Dkt. No. 131 at 2.)

         On or about July 9, 2019, Mr. Johnson filed a request for compassionate release with the warden of FCI Terminal Island. (Id.) On September 3, 2019, Mr. Johnson, proceeding pro se, filed a motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). (Dkt. No. 125.)[1] The Government has responded and recommends that Mr. Johnson's motion be granted. (See Dkt. No. 131.) Defense counsel has appeared for Mr. Johnson and concurs with the Government's recommendation that the motion be granted. (See Dkt. No. 132.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         On December 21, 2018, the First Step Act of 2018 was signed into law and implemented significant reforms to the criminal justice system. Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018). Following the First Step Act:

the court . . . upon motion of the defendant after the defendant has fully exhausted all administrative rights to appeal a failure of the Bureau of Prisons to bring a motion [for compassionate release] on the defendant's behalf or the lapse of 30 days from the receipt of such a request by the warden of the defendant's facility, whichever is earlier, may reduce the term of imprisonment (and may impose a term of probation or supervised release with or without conditions that does not exceed the unserved portion of the original term of imprisonment), after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if it finds that--
(i) extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction; or
(ii) the defendant is at least 70 years of age, has served at least 30 years in prison, pursuant to a sentence imposed under section 3559(c), for the offense or offenses for which the defendant is currently imprisoned, and a determination has been made by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons that the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person or the community, as provided under section 3142(g); and that such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission . . . .

18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A); see First Step Act § 603, 132 Stat. at 5293; see also 28 U.S.C. § 994(t) (directing the Sentencing Commission to promulgate policy statements describing “what should be considered extraordinary and compelling reasons for sentence reduction, including the criteria to be applied . . . .”). The relevant Sentencing Commission policy statement provides that a court may reduce a sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A):

if, after considering the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), to the extent that they are applicable, the court determines that-
(1)(A) Extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant the reduction; or
(B) The defendant (i) is at least 70 years old; and (ii) has served at least 30 years in prison pursuant to a sentence imposed under 18 U.S.C. ยง 3559(c) for the offense or ...

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