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Brooks v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

October 30, 2014

ANTHONY BROOKS,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ALETA A. TRAUGER, District Judge.

Movant Anthony Brooks, a federal prisoner presently housed at USP Lee in Pennington Gap, Virginia, brings this pro se action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255 to set aside, vacate and correct an allegedly illegal sentence and judgment imposed by this court on May 25, 2012 (Case. No. 3:10-cr-00163, ECF No. 1715). For the reasons set forth herein, the court finds that an evidentiary hearing is not required, and the record establishes that the movant is not entitled to relief.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In June 2010, Anthony Brooks and twenty-five other individuals were indicted for a conspiracy to participate in racketeering offenses. (Case No. 3:10-cr-00163, ECF No. 3, Indictment.) After two superseding indictments, Brooks was ultimately charged with (1) conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity (Count 1); (2) conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering (Count 17); (3) assault with a dangerous weapon in furtherance of racketeering (Count 18); (4) using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (Count 19); (5) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (Count 20); (6) assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering (Count 23); and (7) conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence (Count 27). (Case No. 3:10-cr-00163, ECF No. 1147, Second Superseding Indictment.)

On January 19, 2012, Brooks entered into a binding plea agreement with the United States and, in conjunction therewith, submitted to the court a petition to enter a guilty plea, which the court accepted. (Case No. 3:10-cr-00163, ECF Nos. 1268, Plea Petition; 1269, Plea Agreement.) Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, Brooks pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 20 of the Second Superseding Indictment, in exchange for which the United States agreed to dismiss the remaining five counts, and the parties stipulated to an agreed term of imprisonment of 300 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

At the plea hearing on January 19, 2012, Brooks admitted the truth of the facts on pages 5 through 8 of the plea agreement, establishing his guilt as to the two charges to which he pleaded guilty; he affirmed that he was pleading guilty because he was, in fact, guilty of those charges. (Case No. 3:10-cr-00163, ECF No. 1982, Plea Hr'g Tr. at 18:13-15.) He agreed that he entered the plea voluntarily, and he also agreed to the offense calculations set forth in the plea agreement, conceding that he was properly classified as a career offender. Finally, he stated that he understood that in pleading guilty, he waived his right to appeal any sentence of 300 months.

Brooks, pro se, and his trial counsel both filed notices of appeal. Counsel for Brooks filed an appellate brief in accordance with Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), in which she stated that she had carefully examined the record and concluded that the case presented no non-frivolous bases for appeal, but she nonetheless articulated the issues and arguments that Brooks wanted her to raise on appeal, including:

1. Whether the Appellant qualified for the "Career Offender" enhancement pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
2. Whether Appellant's Sentencing Guidelines Calculations were correct.
3. Whether Appellant entered into the Plea Agreement knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.
4. Whether Appellant was guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A).

(Case No. 12-5681, Doc. No. 48, Anders Appellate Brief at iv (6th Cir. Sept. 26, 2013).)

Brooks thereafter filed a response to the Anders brief, raising and arguing essentially the same issues:

1. Whether [there] was a nexus established on the 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)[(A)] violation if ...

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