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UNITED STATES v. Rafael Martinez, Defendant-Appellant. (2019)

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United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Ahmed M.M. MAHMOUD, aka Muhammad Ahmed, Edwin Perez, Wilson De La Cruz, Keith Perez, aka Kiko, Victor Perez, Elba Perez, Felix Ayala, Defendants, Rafael Martinez, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18-758-cr

Decided: October 11, 2019

PRESENT: DENNIS JACOBS, ROBERT D. SACK, PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges. For Appellant: Louis V. Fasulo, Fasulo Braverman & DiMaggio, LLP, New York, NY For Appellee: Jane Kim, Assistant United States Attorney (Daniel B. Tehrani, Assistant United States Attorney on the brief), for Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, NY


Defendant-Appellant Rafael Martinez appeals from the February 26, 2018 decision and order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Buchwald, J.), denying his motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts, procedural history, and issues on appeal.

Martinez moved for a reduction in sentence based on Amendment 794 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which revised the commentary regarding the application of role adjustments under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2. Under § 3582(c)(2), a sentencing court may reduce a defendant’s term of imprisonment if it was based on a guideline range subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission. In order to be eligible for relief under § 3582(c)(2), however, a defendant must establish that his sentence was lowered by an amendment to the Sentencing Guidelines that is listed as retroactive in U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d). See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10; see also United States v. Derry, 824 F.3d 299, 303 (2d Cir. 2016) (“A defendant is [ ] eligible for a modification if he has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment based on a guideline range that has subsequently been lowered by an enumerated, retroactive amendment, and the guideline range applicable to him has been lowered as a result.” (emphasis added) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

Martinez contends that even though Amendment 794 is not listed as retroactive in § 1B1.10(d) it should be applied retroactively because the amendment is clarifying rather than substantive. United States v. Sabbeth, 277 F.3d 94, 96 (2d Cir. 2002) (“[A] defendant sentenced under one version of the Guidelines may be given the benefit of a later revision if the revision represents not a substantive change but merely a clarification of the United States Sentencing Commission’s prior intent.” (quoting United States v. Kim, 193 F.3d 567, 578 (2d Cir. 1999)) (internal quotation marks and ellipses omitted)).

We typically engage in the clarification analysis on direct appeal or when there are ex post facto concerns. See, e.g., United States v. Harris, 711 F. App'x 61, 62 (2d Cir. 2018) (summary order). On a § 3582(c)(2) motion, however, the statutory authorization to modify a sentence is “narrow,” and, accordingly, we may look to “only the amendments listed” in subsection § 1B1.10(d) to provide a basis for relief. Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 827, 130 S.Ct. 2683, 177 L.Ed.2d 271 (2010); see also United States v. Perez, 129 F.3d 255, 259 (2d Cir. 1997) (finding “§ 3582 is inapplicable” when an “amendment is not listed” at U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d), which “governs the retroactivity of Guideline amendments and specifies which amendments a defendant may invoke pursuant to § 3582(c)(2)”). Therefore, “Amendment 794 cannot provide a basis for relief under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) because it is not listed as a retroactive amendment under U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d).” United States v. Ventura-Nieves, 718 F. App'x 93, 94 (2d Cir. 2018) (summary order).

Accordingly, we AFFIRM the order of the District Court.

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