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United States v. Neadeau

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 9, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Marcus James Neadeau, Defendant.

          Marcus James Neadeau, Defendant, Pro Se, Robert H. Meyers, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Defender's Office, counsel for Defendant.

          Michael L. Cheever, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, counsel for the Government.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Marcus James Neadeau's (“Defendant”) motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act. (Doc. Nos. [476], [482].) The United States of America (the “Government”) supports Defendant's motion. (Doc. No. [483].)

         Defendant requests that his sentence be reduced to a term of imprisonment of time served and a term of supervised release of eight years. Defendant also requests that if the Court is not inclined to reduce his term of imprisonment to time served that the Court grant Defendant a resentencing hearing in order to make further arguments. The Government agrees that a sentence reduction lowering both Defendant's terms of imprisonment and supervised release is warranted, but requests that he receive a term of imprisonment of 168 months instead of time served. Alternatively, if the Court is inclined to reduce Defendant's term of imprisonment to time served, the Government requests that his term of supervised release be amended to include at least four months in a residential re-entry center to support Defendant's successful transition out of incarceration.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's motion for a sentence reduction.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         On October 8, 2009, a jury found Defendant guilty of a single count of conspiring to distribute, or possess with intent to distribute, 50 or more grams of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846. (Doc. No. 225.) On May 3, 2010, this Court sentenced Defendant to a term of 240 months' imprisonment, to be followed by a ten-year period of supervised release. (Doc. Nos. 292, 293.) Defendant appealed, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence on April 7, 2011. (Doc. Nos. 328, 329; United States v. Neadeau, 639 F.3d 453 (8th Cir. 2011).) Defendant timely filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate his sentence on the grounds that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance through a variety of failures to act. (Doc. No. 336.) This Court denied the motion, finding that Defendant's claims lacked merit and did not justify the issuance of a certificate of appealability. (Doc. No. 352.)

         Defendant initially moved pro se for a reduction in sentence. (Doc. No. 476.) This Court granted Defendant's subsequent motion to appoint counsel. (Doc. Nos. 479, 480.) Defendant, through counsel, filed his motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018) (“First Step Act”), on May 6, 2019. (Doc. No. 482.) The Government filed its response expressing qualified support for the motion on the next day. (Doc. No. 483.)

         At sentencing, this Court articulated its reasoning for the terms imposed based on careful consideration of the record and all applicable sentencing criteria, including Defendant's Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”), the applicable United States Sentencing Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), and the sentencing factors outlined under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). (See generally Doc. No. 300.) The Government filed an information to establish Defendant's prior convictions, thereby making him subject to increased punishment under 21 U.S.C. § 851(b). (Id. at 11.) The Government requested that the Court apply a two-level enhancement for obstruction under the Guidelines, which would have raised Defendant's total offense level from 30 to 32 and, combined with his criminal history category (“CHC”) of IV, would have raised his Guidelines sentencing range from a term of 135 to 168 months' imprisonment to 168 to 210 months' imprisonment. (Id. at 24, 42.)

         The Court explained that despite serious concerns about Defendant's conduct directed toward witnesses in his case, application of the obstruction enhancement was not appropriate. (Id. at 40-41.) The Court further explained that while Defendant's vocational and educational needs could be met during a term of imprisonment at the low end of his resulting Guidelines range (135 months), other 3553(a) factors called for a longer sentence. (Id. at 44, 46-48.) The Court stated clearly that it did not “believe that 240 months, ” the applicable mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, was necessary, and that it was “imposing it for one reason, and for one reason only: It is the mandatory minimum.” (Id. at 46-47.) The Court further noted that the requirement of a 240-month minimum “may get changed in the future.” (Id. at 49.) However, the Court also made clear that without the mandatory minimum, it “would be imposing nothing less than 168 months.” (Id. at 47.) Only a term of imprisonment of no less than 168 months, and up to 180 months, “would fit the 3553(a) factors” under the circumstances, if no mandatory minimum of even five or ten years applied. (Id. at 47-49, 51.)

         Defendant is currently scheduled to be released on ...


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