United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS TO REDUCE
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are Defendant's Motions to Reduce Sentence
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). ECF Nos. 1087,
1106. This matter was submitted for
consideration without oral argument. The Court has reviewed
the record and files herein, and is fully informed. For the
reasons discussed below, Defendant's Motions to Reduce
Sentence, ECF Nos. 1087, 1106, are denied.
December 6, 2017, an indictment was filed charging Defendant
with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture
containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 846. ECF No. 1. On April 18, 2018, a
superseding indictment was filed charging Defendant with the
same conspiracy count and one count of possession with intent
to distribute 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. ECF
No. 392 (Counts 1 and 42). On January 16, 2019, Defendant
pleaded guilty to Count 42, possession with intent distribute
5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. ECF No. 730. On
May 14, 2019, this Court varied from the advisory guideline
range of 30 to 37 months of imprisonment and sentenced
Defendant to eight months imprisonment, followed by a
four-year term of supervised release. ECF No. 903. On May 28,
2019, Defendant began her term of imprisonment at Federal
Detention Center SeaTac (“FDC SeaTac”). ECF No.
1003. Defendant's projected release date is January 11,
2020. ECF No. 1106 at 17.
21, 2019, Defendant submitted a written request for
compassionate release to the warden at FDC SeaTac. ECF No.
1106 at 2, 16. On July 23, 2019, the warden denied
Defendant's request. Id. at 2, 17. On August 5,
2019, Defendant administratively appealed that denial.
Id. at 2, 18-19. On August 21, 2019, Defendant's
administrative appeal was denied. Id. at 2, 20.
Pursuant to procedural changes implemented by the First Step
Act of 2018, Defendant then filed the instant Motions to
Reduce Sentence for this Court's review. ECF Nos. 1087,
1106. Defendant argues that she should be granted
compassionate release based on her chronic medical conditions
and the nature of the medical care she has received at FDC
SeaTac. ECF No. 1106 at 1.
Eligibility for Compassionate Release
courts have the statutory authority to modify an imposed term
of imprisonment for two reasons: compassionate release under
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1) or based on a change in the
sentencing guidelines under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
Until recently, motions for compassionate release could only
be brought to the Court by the Director of the Bureau of
Prisons. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (2002). However,
after the December 2018 passage of the First Step Act,
defendants may now bring their own motions for compassionate
release after exhausting administrative remedies within the
Bureau of Prisons. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (2018).
defendant may be eligible for compassionate release: (1) if
the Court finds “extraordinary or compelling
reasons” to warrant a sentence reduction; or (2) if the
defendant is at least 70 years old, has served at least 30
years in prison pursuant to a sentence imposed for the
offense for which the defendant is currently imprisoned, and
the defendant is determined not to pose a risk of danger to
the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). Under either
eligibility prong, the Court must also find that a sentence
reduction is “consistent with applicable policy
statements issued by the [United States] Sentencing
Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). The
Sentencing Guidelines instruct that the Court should consider
the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553
when deciding a motion for compassionate release, and that
the Court should not grant a sentence reduction if the
defendant poses a risk of danger to the community, as defined
in the Bail Reform Act. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13.
Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons
moves for compassionate release on the grounds that
“extraordinary and compelling reasons” justify a
sentence reduction. ECF No. 1106 at 1. The First Step Act did
not define what “extraordinary and compelling
reasons” warrant a sentence reduction, but the
compassionate release statute directs the Court to consider
the Sentencing Commission's policy statements when
deciding compassionate release motions. 18 U.S.C. §
Sentencing Commission's policy statement on sentence
reduction mirrors the language of the compassionate release
statute, but it has not yet been updated to reflect the
procedural changes implemented by the First Step Act.
U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13. “While that particular policy
statement has not yet been updated to reflect that defendants
(and not just the [Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)])
may move for compassionate release, courts have universally
turned to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13 to provide guidance on the
‘extraordinary and compelling reasons' that may
warrant a sentence reduction.” United States v.
McGraw, No. 2:02-cr-00018-LJM-CMM, 2019 WL 2059488, at
*2 (S.D. Ind. May 9, 2019) (gathering cases). The sentence
reduction policy statement outlines four categories of
circumstances that may constitute “extraordinary and
compelling reasons” for a sentence reduction: (1) the
defendant suffers from a medical condition that is terminal
or substantially diminishes the defendant's ability to
provide self-care in a correctional environment; (2) the
defendant is at least 65 years old, is experiencing a serious
deterioration in health due to the aging process, and has
served at least 10 years or 75% of his or her term of
imprisonment; (3) family circumstances involving the death or
incapacitation of the caregiver of the defendant's minor
child or the incapacitation of the defendant's spouse or
registered partner; or (4) other reasons, other than or in
combination with the other listed circumstances, that are
extraordinary and compelling. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13,
Application Note 1.
Defendant moves for compassionate release on the grounds that
her multiple chronic illnesses and difficulty treating them
while in custody constitute “extraordinary and
compelling reasons” for a sentence reduction. ECF No.
1106 at 10-11. Because Defendant does not allege that her
conditions are terminal or diminish her ability to provide
self-care while in custody, her motion for compassionate
release is best addressed under the “other
states that she has five different chronic illnesses and the
medical treatment she receives at FDC SeaTac is different
from the treatment she received while out in the community.
ECF No. 1106 at 16, 19. Defendant alleges that her medical
conditions have worsened while incarcerated. Id.
However, Defendant's motion is notable for what it does
not allege. Defendant does not indicate whether or how she
has pursued alternative courses of treatment or
administrative remedies within BOP. Defendant does not show
that her conditions are going untreated or that they cause
significant impairments in her daily functioning. Other than
her own claims, Defendant does not establish
“substandard medical care” with any medical
testimony as to diagnosis, prognosis or required and
necessary treatment. Of note, Defendant is expected to be
released to a halfway house on or about December 11, 2019.
ECF No. 1106 at 17. ...