United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY, United States District Judge.
Lamont Williams (“Petitioner”), a federal
prisoner proceeding pro se, moves to vacate, set
aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
(“Motion to Vacate”) (ECF No. 2129). The United
States (the “Government”) has filed a motion to
dismiss (ECF No. 2171), which this Court construes as a
motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court grants the Government's motion in part
and orders additional briefing.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was one of twenty-five defendants named in an eighty-five
count third superseding indictment. Attorney William Runyon
represented Petitioner. In December 2012, Petitioner pled
guilty after entering into a plea agreement with the
Government. In the agreement, Petitioner agreed to waive his
right to make any claims on direct appeal or in a § 2255
motion, except for claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel or prosecutorial misconduct. In June 2013, the Court
sentenced Petitioner to 360 months in prison. Petitioner then
appealed his convictions and sentence. The Fourth Circuit
affirmed. United States v. Williams, 595 F.App'x
238 (4th Cir. 2015) (per curiam).
filed his § 2255 motion on February 25, 2016. The Court
ordered the Government to file a response, and on May 16, the
Government filed its motion. In addition to arguing that
Petitioner's claims lack merit, the Government also
argued that Petitioner waived his claims by pleading guilty.
Petitioner filed a partial response on June 30, addressing
only the Government's waiver arguments and requesting the
opportunity to submit further briefing on any claims that the
Court finds are not waived.
proceeds under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides, in
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 . . . may move the
court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or
correct the sentence.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). On a motion to vacate, set aside,
or correct a sentence pursuant to § 2255, the petitioner
bears the burden of proving the grounds for collateral attack
by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United
States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958). In deciding a
§ 2255 motion, the district 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).
grant a motion for summary judgment, the court must find that
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The judge is not to weigh
the evidence but rather must determine if there is a genuine
issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). All evidence should be viewed in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Perini
Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 124 (4th
Cir. 1990). “[W]here the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non- moving
party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate.”
Teamsters Joint Council No. 83 v. Centra, Inc., 947
F.2d 115, 119 (4th Cir. 1991).
applying this standard, the court is mindful that pro
se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than
those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574
F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court
is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a
pro se litigant to allow the development of a
potentially meritorious case, see Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). The liberal construction requirement,
however, does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure to allege facts that set forth a claim cognizable in
a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).
juncture, the Court addresses only the Government's
waiver arguments and Petitioner's responses thereto. The
Government contends Petitioner waived many of his claims by
signing the plea agreement. Petitioner does not dispute that
the plea agreement's waiver provision is ...