Motion Reconsideration Required Because Judge Misunderstood Mandatory Minimum
Reinaldo Rivera moved for 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) relief based on Amendment 782 to the Guidelines, commonly known as “drugs minus 2.” The district court granted the motion and reduced his sentence to 420 months from LIFE. But in doing so, the district court believed Rivera’s mandatory minimum was 30 years for his CCE conviction. This was error because Rivera had no priors under 18 U.S.C. § 848. His correct mandatory minimum was 20 years.
The Government argued that the district court’s misapprehension of the mandatory minimum did not constitute plain error. The Second Circuit disagreed.
The court noted that “the mere fact that Rivera’s sentence was greater than the correct mandatory minimum will not, without more, suffice to show that the district court would have reached the same conclusion regardless of the error.” However, the court treated the error as prejudicial because “based on the record before us, we are not convinced that that the error did not influence Rivera’s sentence.” The case was accordingly remanded. United States v. Rivera, No. 15-4141 (2d Cir. 2017).