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United States v. Fox

United States District Court, D. Maine

July 11, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WALTER SCOTT FOX, III, Defendant/Petitioner

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR SENTENCE REDUCTION

          D. Brock Hornby, United States District Judge.

         In 2014, I sentenced Walter Scott Fox, III to ten years in prison for bank fraud and attempted tax evasion. Judgment at 2 (ECF No. 61). Recently Fox filed a pro se motion for a 24-month reduction in his sentence under what is sometimes called the compassionate release provision of federal sentencing law. The government has opposed the motion.

         Before enactment of the First Step Act in December 2018, compassionate release was available only if the Bureau of Prisons filed a motion requesting it.[1]Now, however, the court can in some circumstances act on such a motion without the BOP's recommendation-for example, if 30 days go by after the prisoner makes a request of the warden at his facility.[2] Fox has satisfied that prerequisite.

         The statute in its current form provides that a court may reduce a prison sentence if it finds that “extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction” and that “such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i).[3]

         Before the First Step Act amendment the United States Sentencing Commission promulgated the following policy statement:

Upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A), the court may reduce a term of imprisonment (and may impose a term of supervised release with or without conditions that does not exceed the unserved portion of the original term of imprisonment) if, after considering the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), to the extent that they are applicable, the court determines that-
(1) (A) Extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant the reduction; or
(B) The defendant (i) is at least 70 years old; and (ii) has served at least 30 years in prison pursuant to a sentence imposed under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) for the offense or offenses for which the defendant is imprisoned;
(2) The defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person or to the community, as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g); and
(3) The reduction is consistent with this policy statement.

U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13.

         In its Commentary, the Commission elaborated on what are “extraordinary and compelling reasons”:

1. Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons.─Provided the defendant meets the requirements of subdivision (2), extraordinary and compelling reasons exist under any ...

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