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Robertson v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

April 9, 2014

VINCENT CLAY ROBERTSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

2255 MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL G. WILSON, District Judge.

Petitioner Vincent Clay Robertson, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion, seeking to correct the 180-month sentence the court imposed following his guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Robertson claims the court improperly sentenced him to an enhanced penalty under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), and that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance. The government has moved to dismiss. The court finds that Robertson's motion lacks merit and denies it.

I.

On March 1, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Robertson in a one count indictment for possessing a firearm after having previously been convicted as a felon. On September 14, 2012, Robertson entered into a written plea agreement with the government that called for Robertson to plead guilty to the single count against him and, in doing so, to "stipulate there [was] a sufficient factual basis to support each and every material factual allegation contained within the charging document(s)." (ECF No. 28 at 10) The agreement did not contemplate a specific sentence or sentencing range. The court conducted a Rule 11 plea colloquy in which Robertson advised the court that he had read the plea agreement and understood it. (ECF No. 46 at 8) The court then asked Robertson:

THE COURT: Has anyone made any other promises or assurance to you of any kind in an effort to induce you to enter a plea of guilty in this case?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Has anyone attempted in any way to force you to plead guilty in this case?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.

(Id. at 8) The court advised Robertson of the nature of the charges and the effects of pleading guilty, including the potential sentence applicable to count one. In particular, the court stated that if it determined Robertson

had at least three prior convictions for serious drug offenses and/or violent felonies, the imprisonment would change from up to 10 years to 15 years to life... In other words, there would be - if you have those three prior convictions, then you would be facing a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to life imprisonment.

(Id. at 10) The court then asked if Robertson understood, to which he answered, "[y]es, sir." (Id.) The court found that Robertson's guilty plea was a knowing and voluntary plea and accepted it. A presentence report was prepared. According to that report, Robertson committed three serious drug offenses in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-248 (Distribution of Crack Cocaine on October 19, 1989; Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute on June 21, 1996; and Distribution of Cocaine on July 9, 1996)[1] and, therefore, was an armed career criminal facing a mandatory minimum of 180 months and a guideline range of 188 to 235 months. Robertson did not object to the report. On December 4, 2012, the court adopted the presentence report and sentenced Robertson to 180 months. Robertson did not appeal.

II.

Robertson now argues the court improperly sentenced him, in light of the new rules announced in Descamps v. United States , 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013) and Alleyne v. United States , 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), which the Supreme Court decided after the court sentenced Robertson. Finding that ...


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