United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Jennifer Kathryn
Roscoe's pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct
her sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See
ECF No. 467.
was involved in a multi-defendant drug conspiracy case
involving distribution of methamphetamine. She was charged in
a one-count indictment with conspiring to manufacture,
possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute fifty
grams or more of methamphetamine and 500 grams of more of a
mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of
methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A). ECF No. 68. On October 28, 2014,
Petitioner, represented by counsel, entered a guilty plea to
the lesser-included offense of her indictment (conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute and distribution of five
grams or more of methamphetamine and fifty grams of more of a
mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine)
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C)
agreeing to a stipulated sentence of ninety-six months'
imprisonment. ECF Nos. 249, 258, & 260. Before
sentencing, a presentence investigation report
(“PSR”) was prepared and indicated
Petitioner's advisory guideline range-with application of
the safety valve provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)-was
seventy to eight-seven months' imprisonment. ECF No. 303.
On July 7, 2015, the Court adopted the PSR without change and
sentenced Petitioner to seventy months' imprisonment,
followed by a statutory term of supervised release of four
years. ECF Nos. 356, 361, 374, 385, & 386. Judgment was
entered on July 9, 2015. ECF No. 385. No appeal was filed.
5, 2016,  Petitioner (proceeding pro se) filed the
instant motion to vacate, set aside or correct her sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 contending her plea
counsel, Robert E. Lee, was constitutionally ineffective. ECF
No. 467. On July 18, 2016,  Petitioner filed a document
entitled “Petitioner's Addendum Attachment To
Recently Submitted 28 U.S.C. §2255 Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside Or Correct Sentence, ” in which she sought leave
of court to amend her § 2255 motion with an additional
ground for relief. ECF No. 472. On July 25, 2016, Mr. Lee
filed an affidavit addressing his representation of
Petitioner. ECF No. 477. On August 4, 2016, the Government
filed a response in opposition and a motion for summary
judgment. ECF Nos. 479 & 480. Pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975), the Court
notified Petitioner of her right and obligation to respond to
the motion for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 89 & 96. On
August 22, 2016,  Petitioner filed a reply referring to the
new claim presented in her July 18, 2016 document. ECF No.
488 at 2.
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material
fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cty., Md.,
789 F.3d 407, 413 (4th Cir. 2015); see Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(a) (“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.”). “A party asserting that a fact
cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion
by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record
. . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The facts and
inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party,
Reyazuddin, 789 F.3d at 413, but the Court
“cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility
determinations.” Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of
the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015).
“the mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise
properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no genuine issue of
material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). “A dispute of
material fact is ‘genuine' if sufficient evidence
favoring the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to
return a verdict for that party.” Seastrunk v.
United States, 25 F.Supp.3d 812, 814 (D.S.C. 2014). A
fact is “material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect disposition of the case under the
applicable law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
summary judgment stage, “the moving party must
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Once the moving party has met his burden, the nonmoving party
must come forward with some evidence beyond the mere
allegations contained in the pleadings to show that there is
a genuine issue for trial.” Baber v. Hosp. Corp. of
Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992) (internal
citation omitted). Summary judgment is not warranted unless,
“from the totality of the evidence, including
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
affidavits, the [C]ourt believes no genuine issue of material
fact exists for trial and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Whiteman v.
Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 729 F.3d 381, 385 (4th
Cir. 2013); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
in federal custody may attack the validity of their sentences
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the court to vacate,
set aside, or correct a sentence under § 2255, a
petitioner must prove one of the following occurred: (1) a
sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction
to impose such a sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of
the maximum authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is
otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. §
2255(a). In deciding a § 2255 motion, the court may
summarily dismiss the motion “[i]f it plainly appears
from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of
prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to
relief.” Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings 4(b);
see 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b) (a hearing is not
required on a § 2255 motion if the record of the case
conclusively shows the petitioner is not entitled to relief).
an evidentiary hearing is required under 28 U.S.C. §
2255 unless it is clear from the pleadings, files, and
records that a movant is not entitled to relief.”
United States v. Robinson, 238 F. App'x 954,
954-55 (4th Cir. 2007) (citing United States v.
Witherspoon, 231 F.3d 923, 925-26 (4th Cir. 2000)). An
evidentiary hearing “is required when a movant presents
a colorable Sixth Amendment claim showing disputed material
facts and a credibility determination is necessary to resolve
the issue.” United States v. Coon, 205 F.
App'x 972, 973 (4th Cir. 2006) (citing
Witherspoon, 231 F.3d at 925-27).
guilty plea is a solemn, judicial admission of the truth of
the charges against an individual; thus, a criminal
defendant's right to contest the validity of such a plea
is usually foreclosed. See Blackledge v. Allison,
431 U.S. 63, 74 (1977). “If an appropriately conducted
Rule 11 proceeding is to serve a meaningful function, on
which the criminal justice system can rely, it must be
recognized to raise a strong presumption that the plea is
final and binding.” United States v. Lambey,
974 F.2d 1389, 1394 (4th Cir. 1992). Regarding an ineffective
assistance of counsel claim presented after entry of a guilty
plea, the defendant's statements made under oath at the
plea hearing, affirming satisfaction with counsel's
representation, are binding on the defendant, absent clear
and convincing evidence to the contrary. United States v.
Lemaster, 403 F.3d 216, 221-22 (4th Cir. 2005).
“[T]he truth of sworn statements made during a Rule 11
colloquy is conclusively established, and a district court
should, without holding an evidentiary hearing, dismiss any
§ 2255 motion that necessarily relies on allegations
that contradict the sworn statements.” Id. at
alleges plea counsel was constitutionally ineffective in her
§ 2255 motion. Claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel must be reviewed under the two-part test enunciated
in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). A
habeas petitioner must first show counsel's performance
was deficient and fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness. Id. at 687-88. Second, the
petitioner must show prejudice, meaning “there is a
reasonable probability that, but for ...