United States v. Jermain Marvin Alexander (6th Cir. March 2020)

The Federal Docket

March 17, 2020

Sentencing/First Step Act – A defendant is not entitled to a de novo re-sentencing hearing upon requesting a reduced sentence under Section 404 of the First Step Act.

The defendant brought a motion for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act, and the Court granted his motion and re-sentenced him without a hearing.

On appeal, the Court rejected the defendant’s claim that he was entitled to a rehearing. The Court held that the First Step Act’s ” limited, discretionary authorization to impose a reduced sentence is inconsistent with a plenary re-sentencing.” Rather, the sentencing court was re-sentencing the defendant pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(B), which allows a court to modify a sentence only as “expressly permitted by statute or by Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.” Moreover, Rule 43 of the federal Rules of Criminal Procedure state that a defendant need not be present at a re-sentencing if the proceeding “involves the correction or reduction of sentence under Rule 35 or 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).”

While the defendant asserted that he would have argued for a further reduction at a de novo re-sentencing hearing based on his objections to the PSR and new facts related to his post-offense rehabilitation and medical condition, the Court noted that the defendant failed to raise these arguments in his initial motion for a reduction. Therefore, the court did not err by granting his motion for a reduction without a new hearing.

On appeal from the Western District of Michigan

Per Curiam opinion by Suhrheinrich, Cook, and Readler

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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