Argued: March 21, 2019
from the United States District Court for the District of
South Carolina, at Florence. Terry L. Wooten, Senior District
A. Pacella, STROM LAW FIRM, LLC, Columbia, South Carolina,
L. Hummel, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Florence,
South Carolina, for Appellee.
A. Lydon, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, NIEMEYER, and MOTZ, Circuit Judges.
GREGORY, CHIEF JUDGE.
Ezekiel Dennison appeals the district court's order
revoking his term of supervised release and sentencing him to
36 months' imprisonment. Reviewing for plain error, we
conclude that there was error and it was plain. Because the
error did not affect Dennison's substantial rights,
however, we affirm the judgment of the district court.
January 30, 2006, Dennison pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
possess with the intent to distribute narcotics in violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 841. He was initially sentenced to 192
months' imprisonment, followed by a 10-year term of
supervised release. After a Rule 35(b) motion, however,
Dennison's sentence was reduced in February 2013 to 150
months' imprisonment, and the sentence was reduced again
in May 2015, this time to 140 months, after a Sentencing
Guidelines amendment. Dennison began serving his supervised
release term on December 4, 2015.
January 31, 2017, Dennison's probation officer petitioned
the court to revoke his supervised release on the basis that
Dennison illegally used cocaine and associated with a
convicted felon. The court found him guilty of both Grade C
violations and modified the conditions of his supervised
release to include 120 days of home confinement with
electronic monitoring. On October 27, 2017, the probation
officer filed another petition to revoke Dennison's
supervised release, alleging the following violations: (1)
new criminal conduct-possession with intent to distribute
crack cocaine (Grade A violation); (2) new criminal
conduct-simple possession of marijuana (Grade C violation);
(3) illegal drug use-cocaine (Grade C violation); (4)
association with a convicted felon without permission (Grade
C violation); (5) failure to submit to drug testing as
instructed (Grade C violation); and (6) failure to comply
with home confinement (Grade C violation). At issue here is
only the Grade A violation for possession with intent to
distribute crack cocaine.
December 19, 2017, the district court held an evidentiary
hearing on the allegations that Dennison violated the terms
of his ...