US v. Suliman El-Amin
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 3:16-cr-00222-RJC-DSC-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [17-4127]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee,
SULIMAN MALIK EL-AMIN,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina,
at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., District Judge. (3:16-cr-00222-RJC-DSC-1)
Submitted: September 28, 2017
Decided: October 18, 2017
Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, and SHEDD and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Samuel B. Winthrop, WINTHROP & WINTHROP, Statesville, North Carolina, for
Appellant. Amy Elizabeth Ray, Assistant United States Attorney, Asheville, North
Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Suliman Malik El-Amin pled guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement to
possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) (2012), possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (2012), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) (2012). The district court
sentenced El-Amin to 84 months’ imprisonment. On appeal, counsel has filed a brief
pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), stating that there are no
meritorious grounds for appeal but questioning whether the district court imposed a
substantively unreasonable sentence. Counsel also questions whether the court imposed
an unreasonable sentence in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dean v.
United States, 137 S. Ct. 1170 (2017). El-Amin has filed a pro se supplemental brief
arguing that he should be resentenced in light of Dean. We affirm.
This court reviews a defendant’s sentence “under a deferential abuse-of-discretion
standard.” Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 41 (2007). Under this standard, a sentence
is reviewed for both procedural and substantive reasonableness. Id. at 51. In determining
procedural reasonableness, we consider whether the district court properly calculated the
defendant’s advisory Guidelines range, gave the parties an opportunity to argue for an
appropriate sentence, considered the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (2012) factors, and sufficiently
explained the selected sentence. Id. at 49-51. If a sentence is free of “significant
procedural error,” we then review it for substantive reasonableness, “tak[ing] into
account the totality of the circumstances.” Id. at 51. “Any sentence that is within or
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below a properly calculated Guidelines range is presumptively reasonable.”
States v. Louthian, 756 F.3d 295, 306 (4th Cir. 2014). “Such a presumption can only be
rebutted by showing that the sentence is unreasonable when measured against the 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors.” Id.
Upon review, we find that El-Amin’s sentence is both procedurally and
substantively reasonable. The district court properly calculated the applicable Sentencing
Guidelines range and appropriately explained the selected below-Guidelines sentence in
the context of the relevant § 3553(a) factors. Further, the court offered ample reasons for
rejecting counsel’s request for a downward variance. Accordingly, we find that El-Amin
has failed to rebut the presumption of reasonableness accorded his below-Guidelines
sentence. Finally, we conclude that Dean does not impact El-Amin’s case, as the district
court recognized its discretion to vary downward from El-Amin’s Sentencing Guidelines
range pursuant to the § 3553(a) factors. See Dean, 137 S. Ct. at 1176-77.
In accordance with Anders, we have reviewed the entire record in this case and
have found no meritorious issues for review. We therefore affirm the district court’s
judgment. This court requires that counsel inform El-Amin, in writing, of the right to
petition the Supreme Court of the United States for further review. If El-Amin requests
that a petition be filed, but counsel believes that such a petition would be frivolous, then
counsel may move in this court for leave to withdraw from representation. Counsel’s
motion must state that a copy thereof was served on El-Amin.
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We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are
adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the
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