Argued: October 26, 2016
from the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland, at Greenbelt. Deborah K. Chasanow, Senior District
Judge. (8:03-cr-00555-AW-3; 8:95-cr-00267-DKC-14)
Mirchandani, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER,
Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellants.
Raman, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt,
Maryland, for Appellee.
Wyda, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants.
Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Debra L. Dwyer, Assistant
United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.
DUNCAN and AGEE, Circuit Judges, and Bruce H. HENDRICKS,
United States District Judge for the District of South
Carolina, sitting by designation.
by published opinion. Judge Duncan wrote the opinion, in
which Judge Agee and Judge Hendricks joined.
DUNCAN, Circuit Judge:
William Henry Muldrow ("Muldrow") and Luis Gomez
("Gomez") challenge the district court's
determination that the Guidelines commentary--as amended by
United States Sentencing Guideline Amendment 759
("Amendment 759")--requires a district court at
resentencing to calculate the "applicable guideline
range" without applying any departures or variances from
a defendant's original sentencing range. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm the district court and join all of our
sister circuits that have considered the issue in holding
that Amendment 759 binds sentencing courts.
Defendants were convicted of drug offenses in unrelated
cases--Muldrow in 2006 and Gomez in 1996. This court
consolidated their appeals.
pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and
possess with intent to distribute five or more grams of
cocaine and oxycodone, on January 19, 2006. At his sentencing
on March 29, 2006, the district court adopted the findings of
the presentence report with one exception. It departed from a
criminal history category VI to a category V because it found
Muldrow's criminal history category overrepresented the
seriousness of his criminal record. U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3.
Employing an offense level 34 and a post-departure criminal
history category V, the district court calculated a guideline
range of 235 to 293 months and sentenced Muldrow to 235
months in prison.
convicted Gomez of one count of conspiracy to distribute
cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to
distribute cocaine, on June 29, 1996. At sentencing, the
district court calculated his guideline range based on an
offense level 44 and a criminal history category III,
resulting in a then-mandatory guideline sentence of life
imprisonment. On November 6, 1996, the court imposed a life
sentence, but subsequently granted Gomez's 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 petition in part, vacating his sentence. The
district court recalculated Gomez's guideline range as
360 months to life imprisonment based on an offense level of
41 and a criminal history category II. Like Muldrow, Gomez
received a downward departure under § 4A1.3 because the
district court found that a criminal history category III
overstated the seriousness of his criminal record. The court
resentenced Gomez on February 27, 2006, imposing a
below-guideline-range sentence of 340 months.
and 2015, Defendants separately filed motions for
resentencing under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) based on the
retroactive application of United States Sentencing Guideline
Amendment 782. U.S.S.G., app. C., amend. 782 (2014)
("Amendment 782"). Amendment 782 reduced the base
offense level for drug offenses by two levels. Id.
The United States Sentencing Commission
("Commission") has the power to make its amendments
retroactive, and although it has done so sparingly, it did so
with Amendment 782 by listing it in subsection (d) of §
1B1.10 of the Guidelines Manual. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d);
United States v. Williams, 808 F.3d 253, 263 (4th
Cir. 2015). Before the district court, the parties agreed
that Defendants are eligible for ...