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Watkins v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

September 9, 2014

TIMOTHY ANDREW WATKINS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Criminal Action No. 3:09-CR-407-1

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner Timothy Andrew Watkins's ("Watkins") Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("§ 2255 Motion") (ECF No. 75). For the reasons below, the Court will DENY the Motion and DENY a Certificate of Appealability.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 8, 2009, officers with the Henrico County Police Department observed an automobile occupied by Watkins enter the parking lot located at 550 East Laburnum Avenue in Henrico County, Virginia. Officers approached the vehicle, identified themselves as police officers, and asked Watkins to show his hands. Watkins made several movements between the armrest and his seat before complying with the officer's request. Watkins was removed from the vehicle. As the officer opened the door, the officer observed, in plain view, a quantity of United States currency and a plastic bag containing suspected cocaine base. Watkins was then placed in investigative detention.

Thereafter, pursuant to a canine alert on the automobile, registered to Watkins, officers searched said vehicle and located an amount of suspected cocaine base. A further search of the vehicle revealed a loaded.40 caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol, serial number SAR08671, in the trunk of the vehicle. The suspected narcotics were forwarded to the Virginia Division of Forensic Science for analysis and consisted of 13.503 grams of cocaine base.

Watkins was indicted on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Offense on November 17, 2009. On March 11, 2010, before Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal, Watkins pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. During the plea hearing, Watkins was represented by John Walter Luxton. The following discussions took place during the Rule plea hearing:

THE COURT: Mr. Watkins, you are not compelled to sign it, but I want to make sure you understand what you are doing.
THE DEFENDANT: Yeah, I'm going to sign it, Judge. I want to make an argument which it seems like I can't make.
THE COURT: I'm not understanding you.
THE DEFENDANT: I said I'm signing the paper feeling like there is an argument I want to make in the situation on my case that I feel like I can't make. If I don't -
THE COURT: I'm going to be asking you a number of questions to make sure you understand what you are doing. And you may be foreclosed, you may be - may not be able to make those arguments. I don't know what you are talking about.
THE DEFENDANT: All right.
THE COURT: All right. In any event, I understand that the matter is scheduled for an anticipated plea of guilty to Count One of the pending indictment pursuant to written Plea Agreement. Mr. Watkins, you had some question about the plea agreement or some portion about the Sentencing Guidelines or what?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Which?
THE DEFENDANT: Plea Agreement.
THE COURT: Plea Agreement?
THE DEFENDANT: Uh-huh.
THE COURT: Let's just cut right to it. What part of the plea agreement are you having difficulty with?
THE DEFENDANT: It is the enhancement.
THE COURT: The enhancement?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
MR. YOUNG: In the Statement of Facts, at the end where the government and defendant agree that he will receive a two-point enhancement for the ...

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