YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Warren man serving a federal prison sentence of almost 20 years in prison on a cocaine conviction is asking for his sentence to be reduced under the First Step Act.
The First Step Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump last December. It allows for a reduced sentence for deserving federal inmates based on their behavior and the programs they participated in while serving their sentences.
Lochan D. Phillips, 42, is asking U.S. Judge Christopher A. Boyko to reduce his sentence based on the law. Prosecutors are opposed to the request.
Phillips was indicted in January of 2007 on a single charge of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine. The indictment came after a Dec. 14, 2006 arrest by Warren police as part of a drug investigation.
An affidavit in the case said a confidential source told Warren police that Phillips would be leaving his brother’s home on Lener Street SW with a large amount of drugs.
Police surveilled Phillips and tried to pull him over at Palmyra Road and Tod Avenue SW. Phillips failed to stop, however, and led police on a chase that ended when he was arrested in the back yard of a home in the 200 block of Austin Avenue NW.
In a bag next to Phillips, police found a large amount of crack cocaine that later measured out to 340 grams of crack cocaine, the affidavit said.
Phillips pleaded guilty to the charge, and in October of 2007, he was sentenced to 235 months in prison.
Monday’s motion is not the first time Phillips has asked for a reduced sentence.
In 2012, he asked for a reduced sentence, but prosecutors opposed that motion. They said he met federal guidelines for a 240-month sentence because of his past criminal record and the amount of drugs that were found. He qualified for the lower sentence only because he accepted responsibility and also because he cooperated, prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors said Phillips’ motion should be denied because the sentencing guidelines were never amended by the government. Judge Boyko denied Phillips’ request in January of 2014.
In 2017, Phillips filed a motion to vacate his sentence but for reasons not explained in court papers, that motion was withdrawn.
In his latest quest to reduce his sentence, attorneys for Phillips wrote that under the First Step Act., judges can reduce a sentence if the penalties for the offense have been lowered. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the penalties for crack cocaine offenses and because of that, they contend Phillips is eligible to have a reduced sentence of 168 months.
Consideration should also be given for Phillips’ cooperation in the case, his attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors said that despite the Fair Sentencing Act, Phillips is not eligible for a reduced sentence because of his prior criminal record and the amount of drugs he had on him when he was arrested.
Michael Frantz, Federal Prison Consultant with Jail Time Consulting, stated “the First Step Act has additional components that also apply to federal inmates, including Mr. Phillips, which would reduce his time in prison. The First Step Act is much more than a revision in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.” Frantz additionally states “that the First Step Act is a viable and functional sentence reduction program for federal inmates.” Call 954-740-2253 for full details and to see if you or your loved one is eligible.
In their revised motion Monday, defense attorneys wrote that under the First Step Act, the emphasis is no longer on the conduct of a defendant but the statute they are accused of violating.
A First Step Act Consultant knows the key criteria contained in the First Step Act and may be able to help you, or your loved one. Call Michael Frantz, Jail Time Consulting, 954-740-2253
Get more information on the benefits of a First Step Act Consultant at https://www.jailtimeconsulting.com/first-step-act/
Original article by Joe Gorman