U.S. v. Watts
A defendant who is convicted of a crack cocaine offense and who is sentenced as a career offender may not be eligible for a reduction in the sentence, pursuant to a subsequent amendment to the crack cocaine guidelines. In 2004, the government charged the defendant, Vincent Watts, with possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base. In 2010, the defendant pled guilty and conceded that he was a career offender, as a result of prior criminal convictions. The District Court found that his base-offense level was 32. The defendant's offense level was enhanced to 37, because he was a career offender. Because the defendant accepted responsibility, the District Court subtracted three levels, pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guideline §3E1.1, and concluded that his U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range was 262 to 327 months in prison. Because the defendant cooperated with the government, and the government filed a motion pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guideline §5K1.1, the District Court sentenced the defendant to 192 months in prison, which was below the guidelines range. The defendant filed a motion to reduce his sentence two levels, as a result of Amendment 706, which is a sentence amendment that applies to crack cocaine offenses. The government objected that the defendant was not eligible for a reduction, because he was sentenced as a career offender. The District Court found that crack cocaine guidelines did not play a role in the defendant's sentence. Because the defendant's sentence was not based on a sentencing guideline that was amended, the defendant is not eligible for a sentence reduction. The court denied the defendant's motion.