United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Glen E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge
Rauf Abdul Salam has moved for a reduction of sentence based
on Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines,
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). For the following
reasons, Salam's motion must be denied.
April 9, 2014, a jury convicted Salam of conspiracy to
distribute or possess with intent to distribute 1, 000 grams
or more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), and 846. Prior to sentencing, the
probation officer prepared a presentence report, which
designated Salam as a career offender under § 4B1.1 of
the Sentencing Guidelines, and calculated an advisory
guideline range of imprisonment of 360 months to life based
on that provision. The report indicated that the probation
officer had not identified any factors that would warrant a
departure from the career offender range.
appeared for sentencing on July 14, 2014. During the hearing,
defense counsel acknowledged that Salam "technically . .
. qualifie[d] as a career offender." Sentencing H'rg
Tr. 3; see also Id. at 14 ("As I said,
the probation officer is technically correct [that] he is a
career offender."). Defense counsel emphasized, however,
that the predicate convictions were "very old, "
and that Salam's record did not "look like the
typical.. . career offender [record] by any sense."
Id. at 3, 14. Consequently, defense counsel
requested that the court "consider his criminal history
. . . overstated and . . . ignore the career offender
guidelines." Id. at 14. Based on the age of
Salam's prior convictions, the court agreed that it would
not be "fair to treat [Salam] as a career offender"
and that a "departure]" was warranted. Id.
at 22; see also Id. at 6 (advising that the
court was "seriously considering departing on the career
offender designation"). Accordingly, the court
"sustained] that objection, " and announced that it
would "depart so as to treat [Salam] as if [he] did not
have the career offender designation." Id. at
22. The court departed downward to a total offense level of
36 and a criminal history category of V. With the departure,
Salam's guideline range became 292 to 365 months. The
court ultimately imposed a 292-month term of imprisonment,
the bottom of the post-departure range.
now seeks a sentence reduction based on Amendment 782 to the
Sentencing Guidelines, which generally reduced the base
offense levels applicable to drug offenses under § 2D
1.1 of the Guidelines by two levels. The court previously
issued a notice advising Salam that he may not be eligible
for a reduction because of his designation as a career
offender under § 4B1.1. The Office of the Federal Public
Defender was appointed to represent Salam. An attorney in the
office has now filed a motion for a hearing. For the
following reasons, the court concludes that it is clear from
the record that Salam is not entitled to relief under §
3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 and, thus, that no hearing is
district court generally may not modify a term of
imprisonment once it has been imposed unless a defendant is
eligible for a reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).
United States v. Goodwyn, 596 F.3d 233, 235 (4th
Cir. 2010). Section 3582(c)(2) allows for a reduction if the
defendant's sentence was "based on a sentencing
range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing
Commission, " and "such reduction is consistent
with the applicable policy statements issued by the
Sentencing Commission." 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).
"applicable policy statements" referenced in §
3582(c)(2) are those found in § IB 1.10 of the
Sentencing Guidelines. Dillon v. United States, 560
U.S. 817, 826 (2010). Pursuant to that provision, a sentence
reduction under § 3582(c)(2) is authorized only when a
retroactively applicable Guidelines amendment has "the
effect of lowering the defendant's applicable guideline
range." U.S.S.G § IB 1.10(a)(2)(B). The Guidelines
define the "applicable guideline range" as
"the guideline range that corresponds to the offense
level and criminal history category determined pursuant to
§ IB 1.1 (a), which is determined before consideration
of any departure provision in the Guidelines Manual or any
variance." U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 cmt. n.l(A).
case, Salam's applicable guideline range was his career
offender range of 360 months to life, which was calculated
pursuant to § 4B1.1 of the Sentencing
Guidelines. As other courts have previously explained,
"Amendment 782 amended § 2D 1.1" of the
Guidelines; it "did not lower the sentencing range
established for a career offender by § 4B1.1."
United States v. Thomas, 775 F.3d 982, 983 (8th Cir.
2014); see also United States v. Miller, 632
F.App'x 609 n.l (11th Cir. 2016) ("Amendment 782 . .
. does not affect any of the Guidelines' career offender
provisions."). Therefore, Salam's applicable
guideline range was not affected by Amendment 782. Although
the court ultimately departed downward at sentencing,
"the 'applicable guideline range' remains the
original pre-departure range." United States v.
Webb. 760 F.3d 513, 520 (6th Cir. 2014). Because that
range has not been lowered by any retroactively-applicable
amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines, Salam is not
eligible for a sentence reduction under § 3582(c)(2).
See United States v. Hall 627 F.App'x 266, 267
(4th Cir. 2016) ("[B]ecause Hall was sentenced as a
career offender (a Guidelines range from which the district
court departed downward at sentencing), Amendment 782 did not
lower his applicable Guidelines range, and he is therefore
not eligible for a sentence reduction."); United
States v. Rinaldi. 623 F.App'x 579, 581 (3d Cir.
2015) ("Rinaldi's applicable guideline range is the
range calculated pursuant to the career offender designation
of § 4B1.1, and not the range calculated after applying
any departure or variance.") (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
these reasons, Salam's motion for reduction of sentence
under § 3582(c)(2) must be denied. The Clerk is
directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion and the
accompanying order to the defendant and all counsel of
 Contrary to the assertions in the
motion for hearing, the court did not "affirmatively
change Mr. Salam's designation to not being a career
offender." Mot. for Hearing at 2. Instead, the court
agreed with counsel that the designation, while technically
correct, overstated the seriousness of Salam's actual
criminal history, and, thus, that a departure was warranted.
See Sentencing H'rg Tr. at 22; see also
Statement of Reasons 2 (indicating that "[t]he court
departs from the advisory guideline range for reasons
authorized by ...