United States v. Watson

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge Alvin Hellerstein

Watson was convicted in 2004 of conspiring to sell 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. At sentencing on Oct. 21, 2005, the probation office's presentence report first showed Watson sentenced in 1994, as a youthful offender, for attempted robbery. Based thereon Watson was deemed a career offender, increasing his criminal history category from IV to VI and his offense level from 34 to 37. The probation office recommended a range of 360 months to life in prison. District court sentenced Watson to 262 months in prison, finding his proper criminal history category and offense level to be V and 35, respectively. The court denied Watson 28 USC §2255 vacatur. While different from that of his trial counsel, Watson's testimony showed that he rejected two plea offers with the knowledge that, if convicted, he faced a substantially longer sentence than what the government offered him. Granting Watson's 18 USC §3582(c)(2) motion, the court resentenced him to 240 months. Following United States v. McGee, it found Watson eligible for resentencing because the "applicable guideline range" was for U.S. Sentencing Guideline §2D1.1—the drug offense guideline—which was modified by amendment reducing sentences for crack cocaine offenses.

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