Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Marroquin-Medina: Percentage-based approach is not mandated for 3582 reductions

In U.S. v. Marroquin-Medina, No. 15-12322 (April 1, 2016), the Court held that for offenders who received a reduced sentence at their original sentencing based on their substantial assistance to the government, and now seek a sentence reduction pursuant to a Guideline amendment, the Guidelines’ “percentage-based approach” to sentence reductions is not the only permissible way a district court may amend the sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(b). The defendant received a sentence reduction for substantial assistance at his original sentence, for substantial assistance. Thereafter, Amendment 782 lowered his Guideline range. In response to his § 3582(b) sentence-reduction motion, the government claimed that the district court could impose a new sentence no lower than the same percentage reduction off the original guideline range. The defendant claimed that the district court should reduce the Guideline offense level by the same number of levels it reduced it at the original sentencing. The district court opted for the government’s view. Reversing, the Court noted that the Guidelines do not mandate a particular approach. A Guideline commentary uses the percentage-based approach as an example, but this not the only permissible method. The Court therefore reversed the district court, though without expressing any opinion as to the appropriate final amended sentence.