United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten Chief United States District Judge
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 Maurice Antwaun
McKnight. For the reasons stated below, the Court dismisses
Factual and Procedural History
pled guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. After a four-level
downward departure, he was sentenced to 240 months
incarceration. He filed a direct appeal, but the Fourth
Circuit dismissed the appeal and entered judgment on December
19, 2013. ECF No. 225, 226. He did not file a petition for
rehearing. On December 9, 2014, he filed a petition for writ
of certiorari with the Supreme Court. ECF No. 265-1. The
Supreme Court denied the petition on January 26, 2015.
McKnight v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1188 (2015).
January 27, 2016,  Petitioner filed this § 2255 petition
based on various allegations of ineffective assistance of
counsel. ECF No. 260. The Government filed a response in
opposition and a motion to dismiss, asserting that the
petition should be dismissed as untimely. ECF Nos. 265, 266.
He did not file a reply, despite the Court's issuance of
a Roseboro order. ECF No. 267.
matter is now ripe for decision.
28 U.S.C. § 2255
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)).
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 pro se filings,
and finds that no hearing is necessary.
Standard of Review
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).
Timeliness under AEDPA
Government argues that Petitioner's § 2255 petition
should be ...