United States v. Samuels, No. S1-08-Cr.-08-03 (RWS), 2009 WL 875320 (S.D.N.Y. April 2, 2009)
Ah . . . the power that the safety valve can sometimes yield. Samuels pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack. For that offense, she faced a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence (even though her Guidelines indicated 70 to 87 months imprisonment). Samuels, however, fulfilled the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f), and was sentenced to time served (15 months). Here's the justification for the sentence as explained by the Court:
Samuels has acknowledged responsibility for her actions, stated that she has learned a valuable lesson from it, and seeks to move forward to become a productive member of society. Her 15 months of incarceration reflect the positive change that the Defendant seeks to make in her life. She has successfully completed a typing class, undergone Inmate Companion Training, is pursuing classes in order to earn a GED degree, and leads a trusted cleaning crew that is permitted access to nearly all parts of the MDC. She has never been written up for a disciplinary infraction while in custody. Upon her return to society, Samuels appears well positioned to complete her education and pursue gainful employment in support of her family.
Because a term of incarceration beyond time already served would not serve the goals of the penal system with respect to this Defendant, a downward departure from the Guidelines is appropriate.