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United States v. Figueroa

United States District Court, D. Idaho

February 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSE DE JESUS ANGUIANO FIGUEROA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill, U.S. District Court Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         During the sentencing of defendant Figueroa on February 25, 2019, the Court explained how the sentence it imposed was affected by (1) the recalculation of the mandatory minimum, (2) the Government's motion under 5K1.1 and § 3553(e), and (3) the disparity between actual methamphetamine and a mixture of methamphetamine. This decision is intended to supplement that analysis from the bench.

         ANALYSIS

         Recalculation of Mandatory Minimum

         The Court started with a mandatory minimum of 180 months - the statutory mandatory minimum for Count Six was 120 months and was increased by the mandatory addition of 60 months required under Count Eleven for a total mandatory minimum of 180 months.

         Prior to the sentencing hearing, the Government filed a motion pursuant to Guideline § 5K1.1 and 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e), seeking a 6-level reduction in the offense level based on the defendant's substantial assistance. The motion does not pertain only to Count Six; it can only be read as pertaining to both Count Six and Count 11. Thus, the entire mandatory minimum of 180 months must be recalculated.

         The Court granted the Government's motion under 5K1.1 and § 3553(e), agreeing that the defendant's substantial assistance warranted a 6-level reduction. To recalculate the mandatory minimum, the Court looked for the lowest offense level with a criminal history category of I that corresponded to a 180-month sentence - here that is 34. Departing 6 levels from 34 yields a 28, and this reduces the range to 78 to 97 months. Thus, under the Court's calculation, the new mandatory minimum is 78 months. See generally U.S. v. Hays, 5 F.3d 292 (7th Cir. 1993) (holding that in a case with a mandatory minimum of 60 months, the two-level departure under a § 3553(e) motion would start “with the lowest offense level consistent with a 60-month sentence and depart[] downward two levels from that point”).

         In recalculating the mandatory minimum, the Court is following the guidance given in U.S. v. Auld, 321 F.3d 861 (9th Cir. 2003). In determining how far below that mandatory minimum it may sentence, Auld instructed the District Court to consider the 5K1.1 factors. The Court has followed this language from Auld in recalculating the mandatory minimum by considering the factors listed in 5K1.1:

(1) the court's evaluation of the significance and usefulness of the defendant's assistance, taking into consideration the government's evaluation of the assistance rendered;
(2) the truthfulness, completeness, and reliability of any information or testimony provided by the defendant;
(3) the nature and extent of the defendant's assistance;
(4) any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the defendant or his family ...

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