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United States v. Chase

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

December 20, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent,
v.
MARCUS TYREK CHASE, Petitioner. Criminal Action No. 11-378-8.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS, Jr., District Judge.

Pending before the Court are two motions: (1) Petitioner's Motion to Seek Relief Under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(C)(2) ("Motion for Relief"); and (2) Petitioner's Motion to Vacate Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("Motion to Vacate"). The Court has carefully reviewed the record in connection with these Motions. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES both Motions.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On July 13, 2010, Petitioner was charged in a one-count Indictment for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See Doc. No. 1. On September 1, 2011, pursuant to a plea agreement (Agreement), Petitioner pleaded guilty to the sole count of the Indictment. See Doc. Nos. 106-07.

In the Statement of Reasons, before departures, the Court made the following pertinent determinations regarding the Advisory Guideline Range:

Total Offense 34

Criminal History VI Imprisonment 262 to 327 months

Doc. No. 254 at 1. However, the Court made a downward departure from the Guidelines, ultimately sentencing Petitioner to a total term of 180 months in prison. See Doc. No. 253.

On July 22, 2013, Petitioner filed the instant Motion to Vacate.[1] The Petitioner argues that his sentencing violated due process because the Court did not apply the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) when determining the statutory penalty range. The FSA generally enacts more lenient penalty provisions for certain classes offenses involving cocaine base (i.e., crack cocaine). See generally Dorsey v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2321 (2012). In Dorsey, the Supreme Court held that the FSA applies to offenders who committed crack cocaine offenses before the FSA was enacted but were not sentenced until after its passage. See 132 S.Ct. at 2326. In his own words, Petitioner's argument proceeds as follows:

[T]his Court erroneously set the statutory maximum sentence at life, which in turn resulted in an erroneous base offense level under U.S.S.C. § 4B1.1, which in turn resulted in an erroneous starting point for the plea agreement in this case. In other words, the use of an erroneous statutory maximum term of life, instead of ten years, ultimately meant that this Court varied downward from 262 months, rather than 120 months, resulting in a longer sentence than otherwise would have been imposed.

Doc. No. 302 ...


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