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Denial of Sentence Reduction Motions Reversed

United States v. Lizarraras-Chacon Docket: 20-30001, Opinion Date: September 23, 2021. In 2011, Chacon was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 grams or more of heroin and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. The prosecution moved under 21 U.S.C. 851 to increase the mandatory minimum sentence based on his 2010 Oregon drug conviction for which Chacon was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Chacon entered a plea agreement. The parties jointly recommended a total sentence of 210 months of incarceration. His total Offense Level included enhancements for possession of a firearm, aggravating role as a leader, and using children in the offense. The resulting applicable guideline range was 210–262 months. The court sentenced Chacon to 210 months’ imprisonment. The district court rejected his motions for 18 U.S.C. 3582(c) sentence reduction, based on Sentencing Guidelines Amendment 782, which reduced most base offense levels in the U.S.S.G. 2D1.1 Drug Quantity Table. The Ninth Circuit reversed. The legislative and judicial developments affecting mandatory statutory minimums are relevant considerations to the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors at step two of a motion for reduction of sentence under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2). The district court apparently believed that it did not have the discretion to consider such developments.

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