United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
TERRY L. WOOTEN, Chief District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court for consideration of the pro se petition to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by Petitioner Mario Alberto Garcia. For the reasons stated below, the Court dismisses the petition.
I. Factual and Procedural History
Petitioner, a Mexican national, pled guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. He received a three-level role enhancement and was sentenced to 200 months imprisonment.
Petitioner then filed a § 2255 petition in which he asserted several grounds for relief, including that his counsel was ineffective in failing to file a notice of appeal despite being directed to do so. The Court granted the petition as to that claim, vacated and immediately reinstated his conviction, and dismissed the remainder of the claims without prejudice. He then filed a direct appeal, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Garcia, 540 F.Appx. 164 (4th Cir. 2013).
Petitioner then timely filed this § 2255 petition, setting forth two grounds for relief: (1) that his sentencing enhancements were decided by the Court, rather than a jury, in violation of Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013); and (2) ineffective assistance of counsel. The Government filed a response in opposition and a motion for summary judgment, and he filed a reply.
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 petition 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 petition, 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 filings, and finds that no hearing is necessary.
III. Standard of Review
Petitioner brings this petition 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).
The Government filed a motion for summary judgment. "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). At the summary judgment stage, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw ...