United States v. Clayton ( 2004 )

  •                                                                              F I L E D
                                                                          United States Court of Appeals
                                                                                  Tenth Circuit
                         UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                                                                                  MAR 3 2004
                                       TENTH CIRCUIT
                                                                             PATRICK FISHER
     v.                                                       No. 03-7095
                                                              (E.D. Okla.)
     HAROLD GLEN CLAYTON,                                (D.Ct. No. 98-CR-25-S)
                                    ORDER AND JUDGMENT *
    Before TACHA, Chief Circuit Judge, and PORFILIO and BRORBY, Senior
    Circuit Judges.
          After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined
    unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of
    this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is
    therefore ordered submitted without oral argument.
              This order and judgment is not binding precedent except under the doctrines of
    law of the case, res judicata and collateral estoppel. The court generally disfavors the
    citation of orders and judgments; nevertheless, an order and judgment may be cited under
    the terms and conditions of 10th Cir. R. 36.3.
           Harold G. Clayton, a litigant and federal inmate at a correctional facility in
    Oklahoma appearing pro se, appeals the district court’s dismissal of his motion,
    filed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), seeking a reduction of his 324-month
    sentence. We exercise jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm.
           Mr. Clayton pled guilty, under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
    11(a)(2), to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in
    violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; to a money laundering conspiracy in violation of 18
    U.S.C. § 1956(h); and to unlawful removal of vehicle identification numbers in
    violation of 18 U.S.C. § 511(a). See United States v. Clayton, 
    201 F.3d 449
    1999 WL 1079627
     at *1 (10th Cir. Nov. 30, 1999) (unpublished opinion) (Clayton I). 1
    The district court accepted the plea and sentenced him to 324 months
    imprisonment on the conspiracy to possess count, sixty months on the vehicle
             Although Mr. Clayton entered into a conditional Rule 11 plea agreement,
    nothing in the record or briefs suggests the plea agreement contained a stipulated term of
    sentence. See also Clayton I, at *3 (indicating Mr. Clayton entered into a verbal plea
    presented to the court, in which the government did not make any promises on the
    sentence term). As a result, Mr. Clayton’s sentence of 324 months appears to be based on
    the United States Sentencing Guidelines (Sentencing Guidelines), and not on any plea
    agreement as to the term of sentence. See United States v. Trujeque, 
    100 F.3d 869
    , 870-
    71 (10th Cir. 1996) (holding the federal courts lack jurisdiction to consider a § 3582(c)(2)
    motion when the term of sentence is stipulated to in a valid Rule 11 plea agreement and
    not based on a sentencing range subsequently lowered by the United States Sentencing
    Commission (Sentencing Commission)).
    identification count, and 240 months on the money laundering conspiracy count,
    all to run concurrently. This court affirmed Mr. Clayton’s conviction on direct
    appeal. See Clayton I, at *4. Thereafter, Mr. Clayton filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255
    motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to Apprendi v. New
    530 U.S. 466
     (2000), on grounds his indictment did not include a drug
    quantity amount. See United States v. Clayton, 
    2002 WL 31124416
     at *1 (10th
    Cir. Sept. 26, 2002) (unpublished opinion) (Clayton II). The district court denied
    the motion; this court affirmed, concluding his Apprendi claims were barred, in
    part, under United States v. Mora, 
    293 F.3d 1213
    , 1218-19 (10th Cir.), cert.
    537 U.S. 961
     (2002), which determined Apprendi is not retroactively
    applicable to habeas petitions. See Clayton II, at *1.
          Mr. Clayton then filed the instant § 3582(c)(2) motion to modify his 324-
    month sentence. He argued Sentencing Commission Amendment 613 to the
    sentencing guidelines reduced the sentencing range applicable to his term of
    imprisonment. Even though he did not cite Apprendi in support of his appeal, Mr.
    Clayton also renewed his argument, raised during his § 2255 proceeding, that his
    sentence must be reduced to the twenty-year maximum sentence prescribed in 21
    U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) because his indictment did not include a drug quantity
           The district court denied Mr. Clayton’s § 3582(c)(2) motion, explaining
    Amendment 613 does not lower the applicable guideline because it only addresses
    the issue of whether admissions, made by a defendant during a guilty plea
    hearing, can be considered a stipulation under Sentencing Guideline § 1B1.2. 2
    The district court also explained § 3582(c)(2) can only apply if Mr. Clayton’s
    term of imprisonment is based on a sentencing range subsequently reduced by the
    Sentencing Commission, and the reduction is consistent with the applicable policy
    statement. The district court noted Sentencing Guideline § 1B1.10(c), which
    contains the applicable policy statement, explicitly states which amendments are
    covered, and does not include Amendment 613, thereby precluding Mr. Clayton
    relief. See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 (c), and cmt. n.2. The district court also rejected
    Mr. Clayton’s Apprendi drug quantity challenge, pointing out this court
    previously rejected it on appeal of his § 2255 action, and Mr. Clayton improperly
    brought his Apprendi claim under § 3582(c)(2), which applies only to situations
    where a sentencing range is lowered.
             Amendment 613 states that a factual statement or stipulation contained in a
    written or oral plea agreement is only considered a stipulation if both the defendant and
    the government explicitly agree. U.S.S.G., App. C, Vol. II, at 115-16.
          Mr. Clayton appeals the district court’s decision, making the same or
    similar argument as in his § 3582(c)(2) motion, claiming Amendment 613 applies
    for the purpose of reducing his sentence from 324 months to the twenty-year
    maximum prescribed by 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C). In so doing, he contends
    Amendment 613 should be given retroactive application because it is a
    “clarifying” amendment rather than a substantive amendment, and the maximum
    statutory sentence of twenty years must be applied because neither his indictment
    nor his plea agreement included a drug quantity amount. He also contends he
    never raised an Apprendi argument before the district court.
          We review de novo the district court’s interpretation of a statute or the
    sentencing guidelines. United States v. Smartt, 
    129 F.3d 539
    , 540 (10th Cir.
    1997). When a “motion for sentence reduction is not a direct appeal or a
    collateral attack under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the viability of [the] motion depends
    entirely on 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).” Id. (quotation marks, citation, and alteration
    omitted). Section 3582(c) allows the court to modify a sentence in only three
    limited circumstances: 1) on motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons if
    special circumstances exist; 2) if otherwise expressly permitted by statute or
    Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35; or 3) if the sentencing range is
    subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission. Id. at 540-41. As
    previously noted, Mr. Clayton’s motion is dependent on the last listed
    circumstance – a reduction of the sentencing range applicable to him.
          Having reviewed the record and briefs on appeal, we conclude the district
    court did not err in denying Mr. Clayton’s motion to modify his sentence under
    § 3582(c)(2). As the district court aptly explained, Amendment 613 is not listed
    in § 1B1.10(c), and therefore a reduction of his sentence under § 3582(c)(2) is
    “not authorized.” See Torres-Aquino, 
    334 F.3d 939
    , 941 (10th Cir. 2003). We
    also reject Mr. Clayton’s contention on appeal that he is not raising an Apprendi-
    type argument. Regardless of how he wishes to characterize it, Mr. Clayton
    continues to argue his sentence should be reduced to twenty years under 21
    U.S.C. § 841 because his indictment and plea agreement did not contain a drug
    quantity amount. His argument is unpersuasive for several reasons. First, as the
    district court pointed out, this court previously rejected his claim during the
    appeal of his § 2255 action. See Clayton II, at *2. Second, as the district court
    properly concluded, the argument raised by Mr. Clayton concerning Amendment
    613 is not one which relates to the lowering of a sentence range as required by
    § 3582(c)(2). Moreover, dismissal of his motion on such grounds is consistent
    with other circuit court holdings that Apprendi-type claims cannot be brought
    under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for modification of a sentence, because they do not
    relate to a lowering of sentence ranges. See United States v. McBride, 
    283 F.3d 612
    , 615-16 & n.2 (3d Cir.) (relying on similar holdings by the Second, Fourth,
    and Seventh Circuits, and various district courts, that Apprendi claims may not be
    raised under § 3582(c)(2).), cert. denied, 
    537 U.S. 864
     (2002). Finally, Mr.
    Clayton’s own pleadings contradict his contention on appeal that his plea
    agreement did not contain a drug quantity amount. Specifically, Mr. Clayton
    admits in one district court pleading that the government and his counsel agreed
    to a total drug amount of 185.5 pounds of methamphetamine for the purpose of
    calculating his sentence under the Sentencing Guidelines. Under the
    circumstances presented, the drug quantity was explicitly agreed to, despite Mr.
    Clayton’s later description of events.
          We also reject Mr. Clayton’s contention Amendment 613 should be given
    retroactive application because it is a “clarifying” amendment rather than a
    substantive amendment.
          The question of whether an amendment to the guidelines is clarifying
          or substantive goes to whether a defendant was correctly sentenced
          under the guidelines in the first place, not to whether a correct
          sentence has subsequently been reduced by an amendment to the
          guidelines and can be modified in a proceeding under § 3582(c)(2).
    Torres-Aquino, 334 F.3d at 941. As a result, the clarifying question raised by Mr.
    Clayton may not be reached in addressing his § 3582 motion, or his appeal of its
    denial. Id.
          Thus, for substantially the same reasons stated by the district court in its
    Order filed August 22, 2003, and reasons stated herein, we AFFIRM the district
    court’s decision denying a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
                                           Entered by the Court:
                                           WADE BRORBY
                                           United States Circuit Judge