United States v. Atkins, 031816 FED7, 15-2180
|Party Name:||UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. AHAMAD R. ATKINS, Defendant-Appellant.|
|Judge Panel:||Before WILLIAM J. BAUER, Circuit Judge, FRANK H. EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge, DAVID F. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge.|
|Case Date:||March 18, 2016|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit|
Submitted March 18, 2016.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 14-40061-001 J. Phil Gilbert, Judge.
Ahamad Atkins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and the district court sentenced him to 216 months' imprisonment. Atkins filed a notice of appeal, but his appointed lawyer has moved to withdraw on the ground that the appeal is frivolous. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). Atkins agrees that counsel should be discharged but proposes that we appoint substitute counsel. See Cir. R. 51(b). Counsel has submitted a brief that explains the nature of the case and addresses potential issues that an appeal of this kind might be expected to involve. We limit our discussion to those issues plus the additional points that Atkins, disagreeing with counsel, believes have merit. See United States v. Bey, 748 F.3d 774, 776 (7th Cir. 2014). For the reasons that follow, we grant counsel's motion and dismiss the appeal.
Atkins was indicted after making a number of small sales to informants totaling 9.3 grams of crack cocaine and 1.1 grams of heroin. The probation officer estimated, though, that Atkins was responsible for distributing 1.2 kilograms of heroin, 753 grams of crack cocaine, and 1 kilogram of powder cocaine, which together equate to 4, 097 kilograms of marijuana. Atkins objected that the actual amounts were about 10% of these figures, and he also contested statements from several eyewitnesses who said that they had seen him with guns while selling drugs. The government called five witnesses at sentencing to substantiate the probation officer's numbers: three former customers (who were cooperating with the prosecution) and two investigators involved in the investigation.
Adam Calvert testified that he had purchased heroin from Atkins "most" days over 3 years, sometimes twice per day, in amounts of either .3 grams or 1 gram. He preferred the larger quantity because it was more economical, but he couldn't say how often he could afford to do so. Calvert estimated that his monthly heroin purchases averaged about an ounce, but he also testified that about once each month he bought half a gram of crack or powder cocaine from Atkins.
Matthew Davis testified that he had paid Atkins $50 to $500 for crack or powder cocaine at least 200 times over 4 to 5 years. Davis said that half a gram of either crack or powder cost $50. Most often he spent $100 or $200, and 75% of the time he bought crack, rather than powder. Davis also said that he'd purchased a quarter ounce of crack at least twice and .3 grams of heroin at least 20 times.
Paul Irby, who made several of the controlled buys, testified that he had purchased crack or powder cocaine from Atkins at least 300 times from 2007 to 2014. When asked how many of those purchases occurred during the three years before he became an informant, Irby again estimated 300. After testifying that he typically bought 2 grams of crack for $200, Irby had this exchange with the prosecutor:
Q: What's the smallest amount of crack you ever bought . . . ?
A: $50 worth, a half a gram.
Q: How many times do you think you bought the $50 amount?
A: At least 300 plus times.
Q: Okay. So, if you bought the 50, if you bought the half-gram amounts 300 times, how many times did you get-I thought you said you normally purchased two-gram amounts.
A: Yes, when I had the money I would try to get as much as I could.
Q: Okay. How many times do you think you bought the two-gram amounts?
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