United States District Court, D. Maine
JAMES M. CAMERON, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE RECOMMENDED DECISION OF THE
A. WOODCOCK, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court rejects an inmate's claim that the retroactive
application of Amendment 801, a newly adopted child
pornography provision of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines, to his case would have resulted in a lower
guideline calculation and hence a lower sentence. The Court
concludes instead that the inmate would have been subject to
the same guideline sentence range under either the old or new
guideline provisions. For the reasons in the Magistrate
Judge's recommended decision and further detailed in this
opinion, the Court rejects the inmate's objection and
affirms the decision.
18, 2017, Petitioner James Cameron filed a motion to vacate,
set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. The United States Magistrate Judge filed with
the Court on March 26, 2018 his Recommended Decision.
Recommended Decision on 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Mot.
(ECF No. 366) (Recommended Decision). Mr. Cameron
filed his objection to the Recommended Decision on April 16,
2018. Obj. to Recommended Decision of Magistrate
Judge and Req. for District Court De Novo Review (ECF
No. 367) (Pet'r's Obj.). The Government
filed its response to the objection on April 17, 2018 (ECF
No. 368), relying on its previous motion for summary
dismissal of the Petitioner's motion to vacate, set
aside, or correct sentence and on the contents of the
Recommended Decision. Gov't's Resp. to
Pet'r's Obj. to Recommended Decision of Magistrate
Judge and Req. for District Court De Novo Review (ECF
motion, Mr. Cameron contends he is entitled to a reduction in
his sentence because if Amendment 801 were applied to his
guideline calculations, he would have been subject to a
two-level, not a five-level enhancement for distribution of
child pornography and Amendment 801 to the United States
Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) § 2G2.2(b)(3)(b) is a
clarifying amendment to be applied retroactively under
Isabel v. United States, 980 F.2d 60 (1st Cir.
1992). Pet'r's Mot. to Correct
Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody at 5 (ECF No.
355) (Pet'r's Mot.). He urges the Court to
revisit his sentence of 165 months, recalculate the proper
guideline range, which he says should be 168 to 210 months,
reduce the bottom of that range by 70 months and issue a new
sentence of 98 months. Id. at 7-8.
Mr. Cameron's objection, the Court affirms the Magistrate
Judge's recommended decision for the reasons set forth in
that decision. However, as the Court concludes that Mr.
Cameron's motion is based on a flawed premise, namely
that he would not have been subject to the five-level
increase under the amended version of § 2G2.2(b)(3), the
Court explains in some detail why it has reached that
conclusion, overruled his objection and affirmed the
James Cameron's March 10, 2011 Sentencing
the Court sentenced Mr. Cameron on March 10, 2011 to 192
months of incarceration, the guideline calculation included a
five-level increase under U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2(b)(3)(B)
because he traded images of child pornography. See
Transcript of Proceedings, Sentencing
Proceedings 11:14-12:4 (ECF No. 263) (2011
applicable guideline provision read:
(3) (Apply the greatest) If the offense involved:
. . .
(B) Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt,
of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain, increase by
. . .
(F) Distribution other than distribution described in
subdivisions (A) through
(E), increase by 2 levels.
U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2(b)(3)(B), (F); see United States v.
Rogers, 666 F.Supp.2d 148, 150 (D. Me. 2009). Mr.
Cameron objected to the five-level enhancement on the ground
that the evidence did not reveal that he had “engaged
in quid pro quo image exchanges.” Mr.
Cameron's Mem. in Aid of Sentencing at 32 (ECF No.
223) (Def.'s Mem.). The Court disagreed
and applied the five-level enhancement because the trial
record “contains sufficient evidence to establish that
he bartered images of child pornography for other images of
child pornography.” United States v. Cameron,
No. 1:09-cr-00024-JAW, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24878, at *20-22
(D. Me. Mar. 11, 2011). Adding all the applicable guideline
enhancements, Mr. Cameron's total offense level was 39
and with a criminal history category I, he faced a guideline
sentence range of 262 to 327 months of incarceration.
Id. at *4. On March 11, 2011, the Court imposed a
sentence of 192 months of incarceration, seventy months less
than the bottom of the guideline sentence range, no fine, ten
years of supervised release, no restitution, and a $100
special assessment. J. (ECF No. 241). When the First
Circuit vacated six counts of conviction, it did not reach
any of Mr. Cameron's sentencing challenges. United
States v. Cameron, 699 F.3d 621, 653 (1st Cir. 2012).
James Cameron's December 17, 2014 Sentencing
December 17, 2014, Mr. Cameron came before the Court for
resentencing. Before his resentencing hearing, Mr. Cameron
again objected to the five-level enhancement under §
2G2.2(b)(3)(B) on the ground that he had not engaged in a
quid pro quo image exchange. Defense Mem.
Addressing Unresolved Guideline Calculation Issues at
8-10 (ECF No. 329). The Court again rejected Mr.
Cameron's objection. See United States v.
Cameron, No. 1:09-cr-00024-JAW; 1:13-cr-00001-JAW, 2014
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148418, at *30-35 (D. Me. Oct. 17, 2014)
(“In sum, there are no meaningful differences between
the exchanges in the upheld counts and the exchanges the
Court considered in its 2011 Sentencing Order, and no
intervening law mandates a different result. The Court hews
to its previous conclusion that the five-level enhancement
for distribution for a thing of value under U.S.S.S. §
2G2.2(b)(3)(B) applies to Mr. Cameron”).
Court, however, changed the guideline calculations because
the First Circuit had vacated Mr. Cameron's convictions
on six counts and, after the Court subtracted the child
pornography images associated with those counts, the Court
reduced the number of images from between 300 and 600 images
consistent with a four-level enhancement under §
2G2.2(b)(7)(C) to between 150 and 300 consistent with a
three-level enhancement under § 2G2.2(b)(7)(B). Instead
of a total offense level of 39, he would have faced a total
offense level of 38.
because Mr. Cameron fled the District of Maine immediately
after the First Circuit issued its 2012 ruling, he faced an
obstruction of justice enhancement and his total offense
level was recalculated to equal 40, and with a criminal
history category I, he faced a guideline sentence range of
292 to 365 months. United States v. Cameron, No.
1:09-cr-00024-JAW, 1:13-cr-00001-JAW, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
148418, at *67 (D. Me. Oct. 17, 2014); Transcript of
Proceedings, Sentencing Proceedings 65:5-67:4
(ECF No. 348) (2014 Sentencing Tr.). At Mr.
Cameron's resentencing hearing, the Court reconfirmed
that it would not count the images involved in counts that
had been vacated and that the Government decided not to
prosecute. Id. 80:19-22 (“I've determined
that I'm not going to hold Mr. Cameron responsible for
the acquitted counts, the conduct underlying the acquitted
Court also addressed the impact of the obstruction of justice
enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1. In its October 17,
2014 sentencing order, the Court concluded that the guideline
calculations properly included a two-level enhancement for
obstruction of justice because Mr. Cameron fled while
released on bail pending appeal. Cameron, 2014 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 148418, at *36-61. Here, the Government elected
also to proceed against Mr. Cameron in a separate criminal
case for contempt of court. See United States v.
Cameron, 1:13-cr-00001-JAW. The guideline range for his
contempt of court conviction was 18 to 24 months, and the
Court imposed a 24 month consecutive sentence on that new
conviction. See J. (ECF No. 34), United States
v. Cameron, 1:13-cr-000001-JAW.
though the Court could have imposed an obstruction of justice
enhancement on the child pornography case and a consecutive
sentence on the contempt of court case, it did not include
the two-level obstruction of justice enhancement and arrived
at a lower theoretical guideline range for purposes of the
sentencing analysis under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). See
2014 Sentencing Tr. 82:16-23. As part of its analysis
under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), using a guideline calculation
without the two-level obstruction of justice enhancement, the
Court calculated the guideline range to be 235 to 293 months.
Id. Reducing the bottom of the guideline range by
seventy months, (which is what the Court had done at the
original sentencing hearing), the Court imposed a sentence on
resentencing of 165 months on the child pornography counts.
Id. This sentence, in the Court's view, gave Mr.
Cameron the “benefit of his appellate victory.”
James Cameron's Second Appeal
Cameron appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeals for the
First Circuit and claimed the 165 month sentence was
procedurally and substantively unreasonable. United
States v. Cameron, 835 F.3d 46, 47 (1st Cir. 2016). Mr.
Cameron did not challenge the five-level enhancement under
§ 2G2.2(b)(3)(B) on appeal. Id. at 51
(“Here, the district court correctly treated the
Sentencing Guidelines as its starting point in calculating
Cameron's sentence. Cameron does not contest the district
court's calculation. . . .”).
Amendment 801 ...