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Morris v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

January 3, 2020

ASHLEY MORRIS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          POPLIN Judge.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REEVES JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Ashley Morris's (“Morris”) motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. 1]. [Criminal Doc. 549].[1]

         I. Background

         On November 30, 2017, Morris was sentenced to 128 months of imprisonment after she pleaded guilty to her role in a conspiracy to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine.

         On December 14, 2018, Morris, through counsel, filed this motion to vacate, set aside, or correct Morris's sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The substance of the motion in its entirety stated:

Ms. Morris's attorney in the trial court rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by providing Ms. Morris with misleading information and failing to inform her of information, regarding her constitutional, statutory, and procedural rights in relation to her defending against the allegations in the indictment, her pleading guilty, and the sentencing, appeal, and collateral attack processes, notwithstanding the trial court's inquiry at the change-of-plea hearing, all resulting in Ms. Morris' entering into a plea agreement with the Government and pleading guilty before the trial court uninformed, unknowingly, and involuntarily.

         Due to the motion's noncompliance with Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts (§ 2255 Rules”), Morris was instructed to file an amended § 2255 motion by January 2, 2019 or face dismissal for failure to prosecute and follow the orders of this Court [Doc. 3].

         On December 31, 2018, Morris, through counsel, moved for an extension of time to file Morris's amended § 2255 motion [Doc. 4], which was granted [Doc. 5]. On January 27, 2019, Morris, through counsel, requested a second extension of time to file [Doc. 6], which was also granted [Doc. 7]. The February 14, 2019 deadline passed, along with ten additional months.

         II. Standard of Review

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b)

         Because § 2255 motions initiate civil proceedings, they may be governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the statutes and rules specifically governing cases under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. § 2255 Rule 12; Bowdidge v. Lehman, 252 F.2d 366, 368 (6th Cir. 1958). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) a court may dismiss a case for “failure of the plaintiff to prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of the court.” See, e.g., Nye Capital Appreciation Partners, L.L.C. v. Nemchik, 483 Fed.Appx. 1, 9 (6th Cir. 2012); Knoll v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 176 F.3d 359, 362-63 (6th Cir. 1999); Moss v. United States, No. 3:16-CV-219-TAV, 2019 WL 921444, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 25, 2019). Four factors guide a court weighing dismissal under Rule 41(b):

(1) whether the party's failure is due to willfulness, bad faith, or fault; (2) whether the adversary was prejudiced by the dismissed party's conduct; (3) whether the dismissed party was warned that failure to cooperate could lead to dismissal; and (4) whether less drastic ...

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