Ramirez v. USA

Filing 4

ORDER: Petitioner's 1 Motion to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255 is DENIED. Signed by Judge Janet Bond Arterton on 9/15/2009. (Rajendra, R.)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT Gilberto Ramirez, Petitioner, v. United States of America, Respondent. September 15, 2009 Civil No. 3:08cv1965 (JBA) Criminal No. 3:08cr40 (JBA) RULING ON PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE [Doc. # 1] Petitioner Gilberto Ramirez pled guilty on May 1, 2008 to one count of possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). On August 13, 2008, the Court sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of 60 months, which is the statutory mandatory minimum. See 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(B); see also Judgment [Doc. # 20]. Mr. Ramirez did not appeal the conviction, but has now filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 in which he argues that the Court should sentence him to a lower range under Section 5K2.20 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which permits downward departures in certain "exceptional case[s]" where the defendant's "single criminal occurrence" or "transaction" "represents a marked deviation by the defendant from an otherwise law-abiding life." Mr. Ramirez's motion must be denied because the Court sentenced him to the statutory mandatory minimum, and had no discretion to sentence him to a lower range under Section 5K2.20. Except in circumstances not at issue here,1 the Court may not depart downward from a statutorily-imposed mandatory minimum sentence. See, e.g., United States v. Sharpley, 399 F.3d 123, 127 (2d Cir. 2005) (explaining that while "[United States v.] Booker[, 543 U.S. 220 (2005)] makes the Guidelines advisory in nature," even after Booker, district courts remain "bounded by any applicable statutory minimum and maximum," and holding that where sentence was set "in accordance with [a] statutory mandatory minimum, . . . any reduction in the calculated Guidelines range could not reduce [the] actual sentence"). For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Ramirez's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence [Doc. # 1] is DENIED. The Clerk is directed to close this case. IT IS SO ORDERED. /s/ Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J. Dated at New Haven, Connecticut this 15th day of September, 2009. The court may depart below the mandatory minimum sentence at 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(B) if the defendant qualifies for a "safety valve" reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3553(f). However, at his sentencing hearing counsel for Mr. Ramirez stated that "the statutory mandatory minimum of 60 months . . . applies in this case," and agreed with the Court that Mr. Ramirez was not seeking a "safety valve" reduction from that statutory mandatory minimum. 2 1

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