United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
BRYAN HARWELL CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Andre Matrel
Rogers' pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct
his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See
ECF No. 124. The Government has filed a Motion to
Dismiss/Motion for Summary Judgment. See ECF No.
138. The Court denies Petitioner's motion and grants the
Government's motion for the reasons herein.
2017, a federal grand jury indicted Petitioner on one count
of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to
distribute quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, and
marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and three
counts of possession with intent to distribute and
distribution of a quantity of crack cocaine, in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). See
ECF No. 2. Petitioner was initially represented by Assistant
Federal Public Defender William F. Nettles IV, but due to a
conflict, Mr. Nettles was relieved and attorney Maria
Elias-Williams was appointed to represent Petitioner.
See ECF Nos. 18, 62, & 64. In November 2017, the
Government filed an information pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §
851(a), seeking to enhance Petitioner's sentence and
citing his two prior felony drug offenses. See ECF
January 2018, Petitioner (still represented by Attorney
Elias-Williams) pled guilty pursuant to a written plea
agreement to one count of possession with intent to
distribute and distribution of a quantity of crack
cocaine. See ECF Nos. 79, 80, & 81.
Petitioner's presentence report (“PSR”)
classified him as a career offender based on his (1) 2002
Arkansas conviction for criminal attempt delivery of a
controlled substance and (2) 2009 South Carolina conviction
for possession with intent to
distribute/distribution/manufacturing cocaine base or
methamphetamine, first offense. See PSR at
¶¶ 62, 65, 73, 93. His resulting advisory
Sentencing Guidelines range was 188 to 235 months'
April 2018, the Court varied slightly downward-based on a
motion filed by Attorney Elias-Williams-and sentenced
Petitioner to 170 months' imprisonment followed by six
years' supervised release. See ECF Nos. 97, 101,
& 107. Judgment was entered on May 2, 2018. See
ECF No. 107. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.
April 12, 2019,  Petitioner filed the instant § 2255
motion. See ECF No. 124. Thereafter, Attorney
Elias-Williams filed an affidavit addressing her
representation of Petitioner. See ECF No. 136. The
Government filed a Motion to Dismiss/Motion for Summary
Judgment and a supporting memorandum. See ECF Nos.
138 & 139. Petitioner filed a response in opposition to
the Government's motion. See ECF No. 146.
prisoner in federal custody may attack the validity of his
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by filing a motion
in the court that imposed the sentence. For a court to
vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence, a petitioner must
prove one of the following occurred: (1) the sentence was
imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the
United States; (2) the court lacked jurisdiction to impose
the sentence; (3) the sentence exceeded the maximum
authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject
to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).
district court need not hold an evidentiary hearing on a
§ 2255 motion 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);
see United States v. Thomas, 627 F.3d 534, 538 (4th
Cir. 2010). The determination of whether to hold an
evidentiary hearing ordinarily is left to the sound
discretion of the district court. Raines v. United
States, 423 F.2d 526, 530 (4th Cir. 1970). “When
the district court denies § 2255 relief without an
evidentiary hearing, the nature of the court's ruling is
akin to a ruling on a motion for summary judgment.”
United States v. Poindexter, 492 F.3d 263, 267 (4th
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); see Rule 12, Rules Governing
Section 2255 Proceedings (“The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure . . ., to the extent that they are not inconsistent
with any statutory provisions or these rules, may be applied
to a proceeding under these rules.”). “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 evidence must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, with all reasonable
inferences drawn in that party's favor. The court
therefore cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility
determinations.” Reyazuddin v. Montgomery
Cty., 789 F.3d 407, 413 (4th Cir. 2015) (internal
citation and quotation marks omitted).
§ 2255 motion presents three grounds, which the Court
will address in turn.
Grounds One & Two-Ineffective ...