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Sanderson v. United States

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

October 5, 2017

SCOTTIE LEE SANDERSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the court are the Petitioner's Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1); the Government's Response (Docket No. 5); and the Petitioner's Reply (Docket No. 7). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1) is DENIED, and this action is DISMISSED.

         II. Procedural Background

         The Petitioner pled guilty to two drug trafficking counts of an Indictment that also charged two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one other count of drug trafficking. (Docket Nos. 35, 40, 60 in Case No. 3:10cr00259). Through the Plea Agreement, the parties agreed to a total sentence of 120 months of imprisonment, and the Government agreed to dismiss the remaining counts at sentencing. (Docket No. 40, at 13-14, in Case No. 3:10cr00259). The Petitioner acknowledged in the Agreement that if he were convicted of either of the firearms charges, he would be subject to a mandatory minimum statutory sentence of 180 months as an Armed Career Criminal. (Id., at 2). At the change of plea hearing, the court went over the Plea Agreement in detail with the Petitioner. (Docket No. 60 in Case No. 3:10cr00259). At the subsequent sentencing hearing, on August 29, 2011, the court imposed the agreed 120-month sentence. (Docket Nos. 41, 42, 43, 61 in Case No. 3:10cr00259). The record indicates that no appeal was taken.

         On April 25, 2016, the Petitioner filed a request for a sentence reduction based on an amendment to the sentencing guideline for drug offenses. (Docket No. 46 in Case No. 3:10cr00250). The court subsequently denied the request because the sentence was based on a binding plea agreement, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed on appeal. (Docket Nos. 62, 67, in Case No. 3:10cr00259).

         III. Analysis

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         The Petitioner has brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2255 provides a statutory mechanism for challenging the imposition of a federal sentence:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). In order to obtain relief under Section 2255, a petitioner “‘must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.'” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005)(quoting Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).

         If a factual dispute arises in a § 2255 proceeding, the court is to hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve the dispute. Ray v. United States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013). An evidentiary hearing is not required, however, if the record conclusively shows that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); Ray, 721 F.3d at 761; Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999). A hearing is also unnecessary “if the petitioner's allegations ‘cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.'” Id.

         Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs, and records filed in the Petitioner's underlying criminal case, as well as the filings in this case, the court finds it unnecessary to hold an evidentiary hearing because the records conclusively establish that the Petitioner is not entitled to relief on the issues raised.

         B. Johnson ...


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