United States v. White, Criminal Action No. 93-97 (BAH)

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBERYL A. HOWELL, Chief Judge
Citation413 F.Supp.3d 15
Parties UNITED STATES of America v. Antone WHITE, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCriminal Action No. 93-97 (BAH)
Decision Date06 August 2019

413 F.Supp.3d 15

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Antone WHITE, et al., Defendants.

Criminal Action No. 93-97 (BAH)

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

Signed August 6, 2019


413 F.Supp.3d 18

Timothy W. Lucas, William Edward Schurmann, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Antone White, Bruceton Mills, WV, pro se.

Danielle Courtney Jahn, Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Defendant Antone White.

Eric A. Hicks, Minersville, PA, pro se.

Gregory W. Gardner, Law Office of Gregory Gardner, Mary Manning Petras, Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, Joseph John Gigliotti, Sr., Law Offices of Joseph J. Gigliotti, Hyattsville, MD, for Defendant Eric A. Hicks.

Danielle Courtney Jahn, Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia, Diane S. Lepley, Edward Charles Sussman, Law Offices of Edward C. Sussman, Jensen Egerton Barber, Law Offices of J.E. Barber PC, Washington, DC, for Defendant Ronald L. Hughes.

Mark J. Rochon, Miller & Chevalier, Chartered, Washington, DC, for Defendant Derrick James Ballard-Bey.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BERYL A. HOWELL, Chief Judge

In 1994, Antone White, Eric Hicks, and Ronald Hughes were sentenced to life in prison after a jury found them guilty of drug trafficking and racketeering conspiracy offenses, stemming from White and Hicks' leadership of, and Hughes' membership in, the "First Street Crew," which, from early 1988 until the defendants' arrests approximately five years later, sold crack cocaine and engaged in "violent activities," including murder and witness intimidation. United States v. White , 116 F.3d 903, 909–11 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Now, twenty-five years later, White and Hicks seek reductions of their sentences to time-served,

413 F.Supp.3d 19

and Hughes seeks a reduction in his supervised release term, based on Section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018 ("First Step Act"), Pub. L. 115-391, § 404, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018). See generally White's Emergency Suppl. Mot. to Reduce Sentence ("White Mot."), ECF No. 690; Hicks' Mot. for Reduction of Sentence, ECF No. 684; Hicks' Emergency Suppl. Mot. to Reduce Sentence ("Hicks Suppl. Mot."), ECF No. 688; Hughes' Emergency Mot. to Reduce Sentence ("Hughes Mot."), ECF No. 695; Hughes Reply, ECF No. 707.1 Section 404 makes retroactively available the more lenient penalties for certain crack cocaine offenses enacted in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 ("FSA"). Upon consideration of the defendants' motions for sentence reductions pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act, for the reasons discussed below, White and Hughes' motions are denied and Hicks' motion is granted in part and otherwise denied.2

I. BACKGROUND

As necessary context for the resolution of the pending motions, summarized below is background regarding the defendants' offense conduct, convictions and sentences, largely drawn from the defendants' sentencing hearings and related documents, and the D.C. Circuit's review of the defendants' direct appeals of their convictions, followed by review of the relevant statutory background.

A. Factual Background

Starting in early 1988, for approximately five years until the defendants' arrests, the "First Street Crew" sold "large amounts of crack" in the area of First and Thomas Streets, N.W. White , 116 F.3d at 909. Antone White "orchestrated the group's activities," working with several friends, including Eric Hicks from the outset and Ronald Hughes, who began working with White in 1990. Id. "Although White initially sold small amounts of cocaine, he soon became a wholesale supplier, selling ‘weight,’ ... and fronting his cohorts smaller amounts of cocaine to sell for him." Id. Hicks eventually "took charge when ... White was ‘out of the neighborhood,’ i.e., in prison." Id.

The First Street Crew's "drug operation" involved "violent activities," including the murder and intimidation of witnesses against them. Id. For example, "ample evidence" showed that on October 6, 1992, "White and Hughes murdered" Arvell Williams, an acquaintance of White who was assisting in the United States Attorney's Office's investigation of the First Street Crew. Id. at 909, 916. After White correctly suspected that Williams was cooperating with law enforcement, White and Hughes shot Williams "sixteen times at close range," and "Williams was pronounced dead on the scene." Id. at 909. "Several witnesses identified the shooters as White and Hughes." Id. Moreover, one witness testified that after the murder, "he had overheard a conversation between White and Hughes in which one of them said ‘[We] killed the motherfucker,’ " id. at 916 (alteration in original), and another witness "testified that White had told him ‘We took care of ... [Williams],’ " id. (second alteration in original).

413 F.Supp.3d 20

In March 1993, White, Hicks, Hughes, and two other co-defendants were charged in a 26-count indictment with, inter alia , "conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, RICO conspiracy, and numerous individual counts of drug distribution." Id. at 909–10. Trial began in November 1993 and went to the jury approximately three months later on January 28, 1994. See Docket Entry (Nov. 1, 1993); Charge to the Jury (Jan. 28, 1994), ECF No. 215.

1. The Defendants' Convictions

On February 16, 1994, the jury found White, Hicks, and Hughes guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fifty (50) grams or more of cocaine base (Count 1), in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) (1993), an offense punishable by a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and up to life imprisonment. See White Judgment & Commitment Order ("White J & C") at 1, ECF No. 633-2; Hicks Judgment & Commitment Order ("Hicks J & C") at 1, ECF No. 301; Hughes Judgment & Commitment Order ("Hughes J & C") at 1, ECF No. 627-2; Indictment (Retyped) (Jan. 28, 1994) at 2–20, ECF No. 228; see also 21 U.S.C. § 846 (1993) (subjecting an individual to "the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy"). In connection with this count, the jury was instructed that the government must prove "some quantity of ... crack cocaine," but that "the actual amount of crack possessed or distributed or the amount alleged in the indictment is not important and is not an element of the conspiracy offense." Trial Tr. (Jan. 28, 1994) at 45:9-13, ECF No. 320. As discussed infra , in Part I.A.2, the Probation Office's Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") stated, based on the trial testimony, and the sentencing judge found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conspiracy involved the distribution, conservatively estimated, of 21.87 kilograms of cocaine base.

White and Hicks were also convicted of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization ("RICO") conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (Count 5), which was punishable by a statutory maximum term of life imprisonment because the RICO violation was "based on" the "racketeering activity" in Count 1. White J & C at 1; Hicks J & C at 1; see also Indictment (Retyped) (Jan. 28, 1994) at 22–30; 18 U.S.C. § 1963(a) (1993) ("Whoever violates any provision of section 1962 of this chapter shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years (or for life if the violation is based on a racketeering activity for which the maximum penalty includes life imprisonment), or both....").

Finally, the jury convicted all three defendants of individual counts of unlawful distribution of, or unlawful possession with intent to distribute, cocaine base. White and Hicks were convicted in Counts 18 and 11, respectively, of distribution, on different dates, of 5 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(iii) (1993), which offenses were punishable by a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years and up to 40 years' imprisonment. See White J & C at 1 (Count 18 for distribution conduct on Oct. 2, 1992); Hicks J & C at 1 (Count 11 for distribution conduct on Oct. 11, 1991); see also Indictment (Retyped) (Jan. 28, 1994) at 32, 35. The jury was instructed as to these two counts that the "government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for each count that the defendant distributed a mixture or substance with the total weight of five grams or more which contained crack cocaine." Trial Tr. (Jan. 28, 1994) at 30:10-13. As discussed infra , in Part I.A.2, the defendants' PSRs

413 F.Supp.3d 21

stated that Counts 18 and 11 involved 49.99 grams and 5.426 grams of cocaine base, respectively, drug quantities that the parties do not dispute. White Presentence Report ("White PSR") ¶ 35, ECF No. 633-1; White Mot. at 6 n.4; Hicks Presentence Report ("Hicks PSR") ¶ 34, ECF No. 713; Hicks Suppl. Mot. at 6 n.5.

Finally, each defendant was also convicted in separate counts of distribution of, or unlawful possession with intent to distribute, on different dates, a detectable amount of cocaine base, punishable by up to 20 years'...

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  • United States v. Sumler, CRIMINAL ACTION 95-154-2 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 28, 2021
    ...directly affect the guideline calculation on the non-covered offense. Gov't's 404 Opp'n at 16 n.8 (citing United States v. White, 413 F.Supp.3d 15, 48 (D.D.C. 2019), rev'd 984 F.3d 76 (D.C. Cir. 2020)). Outside this narrow category of cases, the government argues that courts lack authority ......
  • United States v. White, No. 19-3058
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • December 29, 2020
    ...404 of the First Step Act. The District Court denied White's motion and partially denied Hicks's motion. See United States v. White , 413 F. Supp. 3d 15, 53 (D.D.C. 2019). Appellants filed timely appeals to challenge the judgments of the District Court. We now reverse and remand.The Distric......
  • United States v. Tigua, No. 19-10177
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • June 26, 2020
    ...And to date, all other courts that have interpreted section 402 have reached the same conclusion. See, e.g. , United States v. White , 413 F.Supp.3d 15, 40 (D.D.C. 2019) ; United States v. Havens , 374 F.Supp.3d 628, 634 (E.D. Ky. 2019). The provisions surrounding section 402 support our re......
  • United States v. Hicks, Criminal Action No. 93-97-2 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 27, 2021
    ...five years later, "sold crack cocaine and engaged in 'violent activities'" in Washington, D.C. United States v. White ("White II"), 413 F. Supp. 3d 15, 18 (D.D.C. 2019), rev'd, 984 F.3d 76 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (quoting United States v. White ("White I"), 116 F.3d 903, 909-11 (D.C. Cir. 1997)). ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • United States v. Sumler, CRIMINAL ACTION 95-154-2 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 28, 2021
    ...directly affect the guideline calculation on the non-covered offense. Gov't's 404 Opp'n at 16 n.8 (citing United States v. White, 413 F.Supp.3d 15, 48 (D.D.C. 2019), rev'd 984 F.3d 76 (D.C. Cir. 2020)). Outside this narrow category of cases, the government argues that courts lack authority ......
  • United States v. White, No. 19-3058
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • December 29, 2020
    ...404 of the First Step Act. The District Court denied White's motion and partially denied Hicks's motion. See United States v. White , 413 F. Supp. 3d 15, 53 (D.D.C. 2019). Appellants filed timely appeals to challenge the judgments of the District Court. We now reverse and remand.The Distric......
  • United States v. Tigua, No. 19-10177
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • June 26, 2020
    ...And to date, all other courts that have interpreted section 402 have reached the same conclusion. See, e.g. , United States v. White , 413 F.Supp.3d 15, 40 (D.D.C. 2019) ; United States v. Havens , 374 F.Supp.3d 628, 634 (E.D. Ky. 2019). The provisions surrounding section 402 support our re......
  • United States v. Hicks, Criminal Action No. 93-97-2 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 27, 2021
    ...five years later, "sold crack cocaine and engaged in 'violent activities'" in Washington, D.C. United States v. White ("White II"), 413 F. Supp. 3d 15, 18 (D.D.C. 2019), rev'd, 984 F.3d 76 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (quoting United States v. White ("White I"), 116 F.3d 903, 909-11 (D.C. Cir. 1997)). ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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