USA v. Sammy Dyer
Per Curiam OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. R. Guy Cole , Jr., Circuit Judge; Bernice Bouie Donald, Circuit Judge and Algenon L. Marbley, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, sitting by designation.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0670n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Jul 19, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE WESTERN
DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BEFORE: COLE and DONALD, Circuit Judges; MARBLEY, District Judge.*
PER CURIAM. Sammy Dyer, a federal prisoner, appeals through counsel a district court
order denying his motion to reduce his sentence, filed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
In 1997, a jury convicted Dyer of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute
cocaine, cocaine base, and marijuana. At the time of his sentencing, a defendant needed only to be
responsible for one and one half kilograms of cocaine base in order to be assigned a base offense
level of 38. The sentencing court found that Dyer was responsible for at least that amount, using a
conservative estimate. Two levels each were added to the offense level for possession of a firearm
and attempting to suborn perjury, resulting in a total offense level of 42 and a Guidelines range of
360 months to life. Dyer was sentenced to 360 months.
The Honorable Algenon L. Marbley, United States District Judge for the Southern District
of Ohio, sitting by designation.
United States v. Dyer
Dyer previously moved to reduce his sentence based on an amendment to the Guidelines that
increased the amount of cocaine base that a defendant needed to be found responsible for to be
assigned the maximum base offense level of 38. That amount was four and one half kilograms. The
district court found that Dyer was responsible for at least four and one half kilograms and was
therefore ineligible for a reduction. We affirmed, but noted that the amount of four and one half
kilograms had not been mentioned at the original sentencing or in the original presentence report.
However, we concluded that any error in determining the amount was harmless because, even if Dyer
had an offense level of 40 (accounting for a two-level reduction under the Amendment), his
Guidelines range would have remained the same.
Dyer filed this second motion to reduce his sentence when the Guidelines were again
amended, this time to require a finding of responsibility for 8.4 kilograms of cocaine base in order
for an offense level of 38 to apply. The district court did not make a finding that Dyer was
responsible for that much cocaine base, but instead denied the motion because, once again, lowering
his offense level to 40 resulted in the same Guidelines range. Dyer appeals, arguing that the district
court should have made a new finding of drug quantity that could have been lower than four and one
half kilograms, which in turn would lower his offense level to 38 and reduce his Guidelines range
to 292 to 365 months.
We review de novo a district court’s determination that a defendant is ineligible for a
sentence reduction. United States v. McClain, 691 F.3d 774, 777 (6th Cir. 2012).
Where a sentencing court makes a finding that a defendant was responsible for “at least” a
minimum quantity of drugs, it can make a new drug quantity determination when the defendant files
United States v. Dyer
a motion for a sentence reduction; the new finding must be supported by competent evidence in the
record, including the trial transcript. United States v. Valentine, 694 F.3d 665, 670-73 (6th Cir.
2012). Unlike the case cited by Dyer, United States v. Battle, 706 F.3d 1313, 1318 (10th Cir. 2013),
where the record did not support the new drug quantity finding, here more than one witness testified
to a single incident where Dyer participated in cooking six kilograms of cocaine base—an incident
that was part of a conspiracy that lasted for five years. Thus, there was competent evidence to
support the court’s drug quantity finding in Dyer’s first motion to modify his sentence. Having
found at that time that Dyer was responsible for at least four and one half kilograms of cocaine base,
there was no need for the district court to make a new finding of drug quantity for Dyer’s second
motion to modify his sentence. Based on the figure of at least four-and-a-half kilograms of cocaine
base, we conclude that Dyer’s total offense leave is 40, leaving his Guidelines range unaltered.
Amendment 750 did not lower Dyer’s Guidelines range, nor was Dyer’s original sentence
based on a range that was subsequently lowered. Accordingly, the district court correctly determined
that Dyer was ineligible for a sentence reduction. See United States v. McPherson, 629 F.3d 609,
611-12 (6th Cir. 2011); United States v. Pembrook, 609 F.3d 381, 383 (6th Cir. 2010). We therefore
AFFIRM the district court’s decision.
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