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Opinion of the Court
In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Wade argued the District Court was in error to say that the absence of a Government motion deprived it of authority to impose a sentence below 10 years for the drug convictions. Wade lost this argument, 936 F. 2d 169, 171 (1991), and failed as well on his back-up claim that the District Court was at least authorized to enquire into the Government's motives for filing no motion, the court saying that any such enquiry would intrude unduly upon a prosecutor's discretion, id., at 172. We granted certiorari, 502 U. S. 1003 (1991), and now affirm. The full text of 18 U. S. C. $3553(e) is this: “Limited Authority to Impose a Sentence Below a Statutory Minimum.—Upon motion of the Government, the court shall have the authority to impose a sentence below a level established by statute as minimum sentence so as to reflect a defendant's substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense. Such sentence shall be imposed in accordance with the guidelines and policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section 994 of title 28, United States Code.”
And this is the relevant portion of USSG $5K1.1:
“Substantial Assistance to Authorities (Policy
Because Wade violated federal criminal statutes that carry mandatory minimum sentences, this case implicates both 18 U. S. C. $3553(e) and USSG $5K1.1. Wade and the Government apparently assume that where, as here, the minimum
Opinion of the Court
under the Guidelines is the same as the statutory minimum and the Government has refused to file any motion at all, the two provisions pose identical and equally burdensome obstacles. See Brief for Petitioner 9, n. 2; Brief for United States 11, n. 2. We are not, therefore, called upon to decide whether $5K1.1 “implements” and thereby supersedes $ 3553(e), see United States v. Ah-Kai, 951 F. 2d 490, 493–494 (CA2 1991); United States v. Keene, 933 F. 2d 711, 713–714 (CA9 1991), or whether the two provisions pose two separate obstacles, see United States v. Rodriguez-Morales, 958 F. 2d 1441, 1443-1447 (CA8 1992).
Wade concedes, as a matter of statutory interpretation, that $ 3553(e) imposes the condition of a Government motion upon the district court's authority to depart, Brief for Petitioner 9–10, and he does not argue otherwise with respect to $5K1.1. He does not claim that the Government-motion requirement is itself unconstitutional, or that the condition is superseded in this case by any agreement on the Government's behalf to file a substantial-assistance motion, cf. Santobello v. New York, 404 U. S. 257, 262–263 (1971); United States v. Conner, 930 F. 2d 1073, 1075–1077 (CA4), cert. denied, 502 U. S. 958 (1991). Wade's position is consistent with the view, which we think is clearly correct, that in both $ 3553(e) and $5K1.1 the condition limiting the court's authority gives the Government a power, not a duty, to file a motion when a defendant has substantially assisted.
Wade nonetheless argues, and again we agree, that a prosecutor's discretion when exercising that power is subject to constitutional limitations that district courts can enforce. Because we see no reason why courts should treat a prosecutor's refusal to file a substantial-assistance motion differently from a prosecutor's other decisions, see, e. g., Wayte v. United States, 470 U. S. 598, 608–609 (1985), we hold that federal district courts have authority to review a prosecutor's refusal to file a substantial-assistance motion and to grant a remedy if they find that the refusal was based on an uncon
Opinion of the Court
stitutional motive. Thus, a defendant would be entitled to relief if a prosecutor refused to file a substantial-assistance motion, say, because of the defendant's race or religion.
It follows that a claim that a defendant merely provided substantial assistance will not entitle a defendant to a remedy or even to discovery or an evidentiary hearing. Nor would additional but generalized allegations of improper motive. See, e. g., United States v. Redondo-Lemos, 955 F. 2d 1296, 1302–1303 (CA9 1992); United States v. Jacob, 781 F. 2d 643, 646–647 (CA8 1986); United States v. Gallegos-Curiel, 681 F. 2d 1164, 1169 (CA9 1982) (Kennedy, J.); United States v. Berrios, 501 F. 2d 1207, 1211 (CA2 1974). Indeed, Wade concedes that a defendant has no right to discovery or an evidentiary hearing unless he makes a “substantial threshold showing." Brief for Petitioner 26.
Wade has failed to make one. He has never alleged, much less claimed to have evidence tending to show, that the Government refused to file a motion for suspect reasons such as his race or his religion. Instead, Wade argues now that the District Court thwarted his attempt to make quite different allegations on the record because it erroneously believed that no charge of impermissible motive could state a claim for relief. Hence, he now seeks an order of remand to allow him to develop a claim that the Government violated his constitutional rights by withholding a substantial-assistance motion “arbitrarily” or “in bad faith.” See Brief for Petitioner 25. This, Wade says, the Government did by refusing to move because of "factors that are not rationally related to any legitimate state objective," see Reply Brief for Petitioner 4, although he does not specifically identify any such factors.
As the Government concedes, see Brief for United States 26 (citing New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U. S. 297, 303 (1976) (per curiam)), Wade would be entitled to relief if the prosecutor's refusal to move was not rationally related to any legitimate Government end, cf. Chapman v. United States, 500 U. S. 453, 464-465 (1991), but his argument is still of no avail.
Opinion of the Court
This is so because the record shows no support for his claim of frustration in trying to plead an adequate claim, and because his claim as presented to the District Court failed to rise to the level warranting judicial enquiry. The District Court expressly invited Wade's lawyer to state for the record what evidence he would introduce to support his position if the court were to conduct a hearing on the issue. App. 10. In response, his counsel merely explained the extent of Wade's assistance to the Government. Ibid. This, of course, was not enough, for although a showing of assistance is a necessary condition for relief, it is not a sufficient one. The Government's decision not to move may have been based not on a failure to acknowledge or appreciate Wade's help, but simply on its rational assessment of the cost and benefit that would flow from moving. Cf. United States v. Doe, 290 U. S. App. D. C. 65, 70, 934 F. 2d 353, 358, cert. denied, 502 U. S. 896 (1991); United States v. La Guardia, 902 F. 2d 1010, 1016 (CA1 1990).
It is clear, then, that, on the present record, Wade is entitled to no relief, and that the judgment of the Court of Appeals must be
COLEMAN v. THOMPSON, WARDEN, ET AL.
ON APPLICATION FOR STAY OF EXECUTION OF
SENTENCE OF DEATH
No. A-877 (91–8336). Decided May 20, 1992 In the 12th round of judicial review in a murder case which began 11
years ago, the District Court concluded that applicant Coleman had
failed to produce even a "colorable claim of innocence.” Held: The application for a stay of execution is denied. There is no basis
for this Court to conclude that Coleman has produced “substantial evidence” of innocence, especially where the District Court has reviewed
the claim and rejected it on the merits. Application denied.
As the District Court below observed, this is now the 12th round of judicial review in a murder case which began 11 years ago. Yet despite having had 11 years to produce exculpatory evidence, Coleman has produced what, in the words of the District Court, does not even amount to a "colorable showing of 'actual innocence.” Civ. Action No. 92–0352-R (WD Va., May 12, 1992), p. 19. We are hardly well positioned to second-guess the District Court's factual conclusion—we certainly have no basis for concluding that Coleman has produced "substantial evidence that he may be innocent.” Post, at 189 (emphasis added). Indeed, a good deal of Coleman's effort in this latest round is devoted to an attempt to undermine an expert's genetic analysis that further implicated him in the crime—an analysis conducted after trial at Coleman's request under the supervision of the Commonwealth's courts.
Contrary to the dissent's characterization, Coleman's claim is far from “substantially identical” to that of Leonel Herrera, see Herrera v. Collins, No. 91–7328, cert. granted, 502 U. S. 1085 (1992). In Herrera the District Court concluded that the evidence of innocence warranted further inquiry.