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United States v. Hahn

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 7, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCUS HAHN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         On November 11, 2019, Defendant Marcus Hahn filed a MOTION FOR STATUS CONFERENCE AND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THIS COURT'S AMENDED JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION TO CORRECT SENTENCE UNDER FEDERAL RULE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 35(a) (“Motion”).[1] Defendant seeks a sentence reduction following a successful habeas petition that vacated part of his sentence in Cr. No. 00-82 JAP. While this case has been extensively litigated in multiple district and circuit courts, the facts relevant to this Motion are relatively straightforward. The factual recitation below comes primarily from established findings of fact in previous unpublished decisions.

         On December 31, 1999, Bernalillo County Sheriff's officers and federal law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Defendant's residence in Sandia Park, New Mexico. United States v. Hahn, No. CR 00-1344 JP, 2006 WL 8444067, at *1 (D.N.M. May 1, 2006), report and recommendation adopted (June 27, 2006), aff'd, 261 Fed.Appx. 90 (10th Cir. 2008). The officers seized a large number of marijuana plants, several loaded firearms, and several videotapes depicting Defendant performing sexual acts on minors, at least some of whom appeared to be drugged. Id.

         On December 7, 2000, in Cr. No. 00-82 JAP, a jury convicted Defendant of manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants and of opening and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing and using marijuana (Counts 1 and 2).[2] United States v. Hahn, No. CR 00-82 JP, 2004 WL 7338137, at *1 (D.N.M. Mar. 30, 2004), subsequently aff'd, 191 Fed.Appx. 758 (10th Cir. 2006). The jury also convicted Defendant of possessing a fireman in furtherance of the manufacture of marijuana in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count 3) and of possessing a fireman in furtherance of the maintenance of a place to manufacture, distribute and use marijuana also in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count 4). Id.

         On October 4, 2000, in Cr. No. 00-1344 JAP, a federal grand jury indicted Defendant on charges including sexual exploitation of children (Counts 1-6), interstate transportation of child pornography (Counts 7-9), possession of child pornography (Counts 10-11), and distribution of a controlled substance without the knowledge of the recipient with the intent to commit a crime of violence against the recipient (Counts 12-16). Hahn, No. CR 00-1344 JP, 2006 WL 8444067, at *1.[3] Count 17 sought criminal forfeiture of certain property. Id. Defendant initially pleaded not guilty to all counts. Id. The Court initially set trial in 00-1344 for February 5, 2001, but later continued the trial date to May 7, 2001. Id. at *3. In the interim, Defendant and the United States reached a plea agreement which they presented to the Court at a change of plea hearing on March 22, 2001. Id. In accordance with the plea agreement, Defendant pleaded guilty to Counts 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, and 16, and no contest as to Count 14. Id. at *1. Defendant also waived his right to appeal the sentence. Id. The United States then withdrew the remaining charges. Id.

         At the change of plea hearing, the Court asked the parties how Defendant's recent conviction in 00-82 would affect sentencing in 00-1344. Id. at *4. The United States responded that under the sentencing guideline calculations, the conviction in 00-82 would give Defendant one criminal history point, in addition to a point attributable to a prior misdemeanor conviction. Id. Defendant requested that the sentencing in 00-1344 be done first, or that the two sentencings be done simultaneously, to avoid the additional criminal history impact of Defendant's conviction in 00-82. Id. The United States did not object, and the Court ordered that sentencing hearings be set in both cases on the same date. Id. Neither party at this point raised the issue of mandatory consecutive sentences as between the two cases. Id.

         The Court originally set a consolidated sentencing hearing in both cases on June 6, 2001. Id. at *1. At the hearing, the Court and the parties engaged in extensive discussion as to whether the sentence in 00-1344 would run concurrently or consecutively to the sentence in 00-82. Id. The Court wanted more time to study the mandatory consecutive sentences issue and stated “I don't intend to complete the sentencing today” in 00-1344. Id. at *6. The Court proceeded with sentencing in 00-82 and asked the parties to do some additional research on the issue of the Court's discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent sentences in 00-1344 under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Id. In 00-82, the Court imposed a 60-month mandatory sentence for the drug crimes (Counts 1-2), a 120-month mandatory consecutive sentence for the first § 924(c) gun violation (Count 3), and a 300-month mandatory consecutive sentence for the second gun violation (Count 4) for a total sentence of forty years.[4] Id. at *1. The Court continued the sentencing hearing in 00-1344 to allow counsel to brief the issue of whether mandatory consecutive sentences were proper. Id. at *6.

         The Court reconvened the sentencing hearing in 00-1344 on August 28, 2001. Id. The Court announced its decision to impose mandatory consecutive sentences. Id. The Court explained, “[a]fter reviewing all of the relevant law and the parties' briefs on the case, it's my conclusion that I have no alternative but to order that [the sentence in 00-1344] be imposed as a consecutive sentence.” Id. The Court then turned to Defendant's motion for a downward departure, which was based in part on the “unexpected effect of consecutive sentences[.]” Id. The Court ultimately denied the motion. Id. After discussion of the Defendant's appellate waiver, the Court pronounced the sentence in 00-1344. Id. at *7. The Court sentenced Defendant to: (1) a term of 240 months on each of the counts to which he pleaded guilty, with those sentences to run concurrently, and (2) an additional fifty-two months on the count to which he pleaded no contest. Id. at *2. The total sentence in 00-1344 was 292 months, or roughly twenty-four years, consecutive to the forty-year sentence in 00-82. Id.

         Many years (and many appeals) later, correctional officials transferred Defendant to a facility in South Carolina, where he is currently detained. See Hahn v. Moseley, 931 F.3d 295, 300 (4th Cir. 2019). On September 23, 2016, Defendant filed a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Id. Defendant argued that due to changes in Tenth Circuit law with respect to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), he was legally innocent of Count 4, the second gun charge in 00-82. Id. The District Court of South Carolina denied the petition, and Defendant appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Id. The Fourth Circuit granted the petition, reversed the district court decision, and remanded with instructions to vacate Defendant's 300-month sentence on Count 4. Id. at 304. On October 15, 2019, the District Court of South Carolina entered an order as follows:

Pursuant to the directions given by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, it is hereby ordered that Defendant's conviction on Count IV alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) is hereby vacated, along with the 300-month sentence imposed in connection with that conviction. The remaining convictions, and the sentences associated with them, remain in place, resulting in a sentence of 60 months on Count 1, a concurrent 27-month sentence on Count 2, and a consecutive 120-month sentence on Count 3, for a total custodial sentence of 180 months. All other aspects of the original sentence remain in place. Accordingly, the Clerk of Court shall send a certified copy of this Order to the sentencing court in the District of New Mexico and it may issue an amended judgment in accordance with this Order.

         ORDER, C/A No. 9:16-3235-JFA-BM, (Doc. No. 59). In response, this Court issued an amended judgment sentencing Defendant to 180 months in 00-82. See AMENDED JUDGMENT (Doc. No. 196). Defendant requested clarification regarding the Order entered in the District of South Carolina on October 15, 2019. On November 4, 2019, the District Court of South Carolina entered another order as follows:

On October 15, 2019, pursuant to the instructions given by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, this Court directed the sentencing court in the District of New Mexico to vacate Petitioner's conviction on Count IV alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) and his 300-month sentence in connection with that conviction. (ECF No. 59). On October 24, 2019, Petitioner requested clarification of this Court's previous Order. (ECF No. 59). To clarify, this Court (1) grants Petitioner's Petition for habeas corpus, (2) vacates his conviction and sentence for Count IV, (3) allows the sentencing court in the District of New Mexico to issue an amended judgment in accordance with this Court's Order (ECF No. 59), and (4) this Court does not preclude the sentencing court in the District of New Mexico from exercising its discretion to resentence the Petitioner de novo under the “sentencing package” doctrine. Accordingly, the Clerk of Court shall send a certified copy of this Order to the sentencing court in the District of New Mexico.

ORDER, C/A No. 9:16-3235-JFA-BM, (Doc. No. 62).

         Defendant then filed the present Motion. On November 25, 2019, the Court held a status conference to discuss Defendant's requested relief. Defendant asks that the Court reconsider Defendant's sentences, both in 00-82 and 00-1344, under the “sentencing package” doctrine. Mot. at 5. In the alternative, Defendant requests that the Court correct the amended judgment in 00-82 under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a). Id. at 5, n.2.

         Rule 35(a) Applicability

         The Court will first consider Defendant's request under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a), which provides, “[w]ithin 14 days after sentencing, the court may correct a sentence that resulted from arithmetical, technical, or other clear error.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 35(a). Relief under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a) is available sparingly. A court's authority under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a) is “intended to be very narrow and to extend only to those cases in which an obvious error or mistake has occurred in the sentence.” United States v. McGaughy, 670 F.3d 1149, 1158 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting Fed. R. Crim. P. 35 Advisory Comm. Notes). The rule:

is not intended to afford the court the opportunity to reconsider the application or interpretation of the sentencing guidelines or for the court simply to change its mind about the appropriateness of the sentence. Nor should it be used to reopen issues previously resolved at the sentencing hearing through the exercise of the ...

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