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United States v. Scott

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

February 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
NARRICO T. SCOTT, Defendant.

          ORDER

          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Narrico T. Scott asks the Court to reconsider its order denying his 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) motion for sentence reduction based on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and Amendment 750 to the Sentencing Guidelines. Doc. 1148. The motion to reconsider is denied.

         I. Background

         On June 7, 2011, a second superseding indictment was returned in which Scott and nine others were charged with various drug and drug-related charges. Doc. 2. As relevant here, Count I charged Scott with conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine), under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), § 846, and § 851. On May 31, 2011, the government filed a notice and information stating its intent to use Scott's prior felony convictions for sale of a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri to enhance his statutory penalties for Count I to a mandatory minimum of not less than 20 years. Doc. 348.

         On February 7, 2012, Scott plead guilty to Count I under a written plea agreement. Doc. 920 (hearing transcript), pp. 6-7; Doc. 645 (Plea Agreement). In the agreement, Scott admitted he conspired with his co-defendants to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. He was responsible for distribution of over 840 grams of cocaine base. He also had a prior felony drug conviction in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, for sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony. The agreement further states that the “applicable Guidelines Manual is the one that took effect on November 1, 2010, ” but elsewhere states that the sentencing court “[would] determine the applicable…Guideline range at the time of sentencing[.]” Doc. 645 pp. 5, and 7-8.

         A Presentence Investigation Report was prepared by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office, Doc. 778, and Scott was sentenced on December 20, 2012, Doc. 922. The PSR provided that the offense-level computation was based on the “Guidelines Manual effective November 1, 2011.” Doc. 778, p. 14, ¶ 54. The advisory Guidelines range calculated under the November 1, 2011 Guidelines was 292 to 365 months. The court sentenced him to 240 months, the statutory mandatory minimum sentence. Doc. 778, p. 27; Doc. 905, p. 2; and 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Scott appealed and the Eighth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Scott, 541 Fed.Appx. 720 (8th Cir. 2013).

         Scott filed a motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for sentence reduction, which this Court denied. The Court held he was not eligible for a reduction because he was sentenced after the effective date of Amendment 750 and his sentence had incorporated the reduction allowed by the amendment. Doc. 1090.

         II. Discussion

         Scott argues that in denying his motion under § 3582(c)(2), the Court failed to afford him the benefit of the changes in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual in effect at the time of his sentencing-the November 1, 2011 version.

         Section 3582(c)(2) permits a district court to reduce a defendant's sentence if: (1) the defendant's initial sentence was based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission, and (2) the reduction is consistent with policy statements issued by the Commission. Section 3582(c)(2) affords Scott no relief, for two reasons.

         First, Scott was sentenced to a statutory mandatory minimum sentence and the Guidelines cannot alter such a sentence. Specifically, Scott was sentenced pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841.[1] In relevant part, § 841 applies as follows to a person who distributes 280 grams or more of cocaine base and has a prior conviction for a felony drug offense:

If any person [distributes 280 grams or more of cocaine base] after a prior conviction for a felony drug offense has become final, such person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 20 years and not more than life imprisonment […].

§ 841(b)(1)(A).

         Scott plead guilty to a count of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base, and the plea agreement and PSR reflect that Scott's offense involved at least 840 grams of cocaine base. Thus, Scott's offense met the threshold cocaine base amount provided under § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), as amended in 2010. He also had a prior, final conviction for a felony drug offense and the Government filed a notice and information stating its intent to use the felony to enhance Scott's statutory penalties to a mandatory minimum of not less than 20 years. Therefore the changes to § 841 in 2010 would not have permitted ...


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