United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Garbis United States District Judge
Court has before it Defendant's Motion for Appropriate
Relief Under the Fifth Amendment [ECF No. 66] and the
materials submitted relating thereto. The Court finds that a
hearing is unnecessary.
March 02, 2001, Defendant Terrence Thomas was sentenced to
262 total months of imprisonment on heroin and firearms
charges [ECF No. 28]. The conviction and sentence were
affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. United
States v. Thomas, 24 Fed.Appx. 118 (4th Cir. 2001).
has twice unsuccessfully sought relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, in 2002 [ECF No. 39] and 2015 [ECF Nos. 47, 48].
By the instant motion, Defendant seeks a reduction of his
sentence to 235 months for grounds based upon the Fifth
Amendment or the Holloway doctrine. The instant
motion is deemed a successive § 2255 motion which can be
filed only if certified by an appellate panel. See
18 U.S.C. § 2255(h); In re Goddard,
170 F.3d 435, 436 (4th Cir. 1999) (“before a prisoner
can pursue a qualifying ‘second or successive'
§ 2255 motion, he must obtain authorization from the
court of appeals.”). The absence of certification
contends that a sentence reduction to 235 months, even if not
constitutionally required, is required to make the sentence
just. He contends that his circumstances render any sentence
beyond 235 months unduly harsh and unjust. The Court finds
Defendant's arguments regarding the length of his
sentence to be reasonable and persuasive. Were the Court
legally able to do so, it would reduce his sentence to 235
months, a duration that is sufficient, if not more than
sufficient, for the crimes for which he was convicted.
However, the Court does not find that it has the legal
ability to reduce the sentence as requested by Defendant at
Court finds that Defendant's case presents circumstances
justifying the conclusion that fundamental fairness warrants
the requested reduction as was the situation in United
States v. Holloway, 68 F.Supp.3d 310 (E.D.N.Y. 2014), in
which similar relief was granted. Holloway, although
not binding precedent, presents the plausible conclusion that
the district court legally can reduce an unfair sentence when
the prosecution joins the defense in seeking the reduction.
As stated by Judge Gleeson:
The use of this power [to reduce the sentence] poses no
threat to the rule of finality, which serves important
purposes in our system of justice. There are no floodgates to
worry about; the authority exercised in this case will be
used only as often as the Department of Justice itself
chooses to exercise it, which will no doubt be
Holloway, 68 F.Supp.3d at 316.
Court finds that Maryland district courts have not been
favorable to the Holloway doctrine in recent cases,
but have left open that possibility for extraordinary cases
for which there is Government concurrence. See,
e.g., United States v. Robinson, No. CR PJM
02-0227, 2017 WL 3434289, at *5 (D. Md. Aug. 9, 2017)
(declining to follow Holloway because it has no
binding effect, and explaining that “it was the
Government's decision to not oppose Holloway's motion
. . . that permitted the Court to address the perceived
injustice”); Wade v. United States,
No. CR JKB-77-0565, 2015 WL 7732834, at *2 (D. Md. Nov. 30,
2015) (noting that the court is sympathetic to
Defendant's situation but finds no basis to apply the
benefits of the Holloway decision to a case that is not
“excessive, harsh, or disproportionate severe”);
United States v. Davis, No. CR PJM 00-0424, 2017 WL
3782702, at *2 (D. Md. Aug. 31, 2017)
(“Holloway does not provide courts with
unilateral discretion to reduce sentences .....
Holloway merely recognized that the prosecuting U.S.
Attorney alone held the power to affect the defendant's
Court concludes that it would, if it legally could, grant
Defendant the requested reduction in sentence but lacks
authority to do so absent Government concurrence. The Court
now requests Government counsel to consider a change in the
Government position in light of Defendant's
circumstances, but cannot grant the relief on the current
state of the record.
Defendant's Motion for Appropriate Relief Under the Fifth
Amendment [ECF No. 66] is DENIED.
action is without prejudice to the ability of Defendant to
seek a sentence ...