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Wright v. United States

United States District Court, District of South Carolina, Florence Division

February 12, 2015

Darrell Tamar Wright, PETITIONER
v.
United States of America, RESPONDENT C/A No. 4:14-cv-04421-TLW

ORDER

Terry L. Wooten, Chief United States District Judge

This matter comes before the Court for consideration of the pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by Petitioner Darrell Tamar Wright. For the reasons stated below, the Court dismisses the petition.

I. Factual and Procedural History

Petitioner pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Cocaine Base, and he was sentenced to 300 months incarceration on June 17, 2009.[1] The PSR reflects that he was sentenced as a career offender under the sentencing guidelines because he had two prior predicate convictions-Failure to Stop for Police Vehicle and Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana. He did not file a direct appeal.

On November 5, 2014, [2] Petitioner filed this petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, in which he argues that his failure to stop conviction no longer qualifies as a predicate offense under the decisions in Chambers v. United States, 555 U.S. 122 (2009) and United States v. Rivers, 595 F.3d 558 (4th Cir. 2010), and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his counsel did not file a direct appeal despite being told to do so. ECF No. 682.

The Government filed a Motion to Dismiss, asserting that the petition should be dismissed as untimely. ECF No. 696. Petitioner filed a response in opposition, and then filed an additional motion for hearing transcripts and an extension of time to file an additional response. ECF Nos. 697, 703.

This matter is now ripe for decision.

II. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

Title 28, Section 2255 of the United States Code provides that a prisoner in custody under sentence of a federal court may file a motion in the court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence. A petitioner is entitled to relief under § 2255 if he proves by a preponderance of the evidence one of the following: (1) that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence; (3) that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) that the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a); Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958) (per curiam). “The scope of review of non-constitutional error is more limited than that of constitutional error; a non-constitutional error does not provide a basis for collateral attack unless it involves ‘a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice, ’ or is ‘inconsistent with the rudimentary demands of fair procedure.’” Leano v. United States, 334 F.Supp.2d 885, 890 (D.S.C. 2004) (quoting United States v. Mikalajunas, 186 F.3d 490, 495-96 (4th Cir. 1999)).

In deciding a § 2255 motion, a court need not hold a hearing if “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). The Court has thoroughly reviewed the motions, files, and records in this case, liberally construing Petitioner’s pro se filings, and finds that no hearing is necessary.

III. Standard of Review

Petitioner brings this motion pro se. Courts are required to construe liberally pleadings filed by pro se litigants to allow for the development of potentially meritorious claims. See Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam). These pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). However, “[t]he ‘special judicial solicitude’ with which a district court should view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate. Only those questions which are squarely presented to a court may properly be addressed.” Weller v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

IV. Discussion

The Government argues that Petitioner’s § 2255 petition should be dismissed as ...


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