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United States v. Lawrence

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

June 25, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARK LAWRENCE, Petitioner. Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-311

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Mark Lawrence's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody ("§ 2255 Motion") (ECF No. 119). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DISMISSES the § 2255 Motion as barred by the statute of limitations.

I. BACKGROUND

a. Factual Background

According to the Statement of Facts (ECF No. 50), beginning in and around August 2009, and continuing through September 2011, Petitioner Mark Lawrence ("Lawrence" or "Petitioner") did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree with others known and unknown, to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin.

On May 17, 2011, members of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") obtained a federal search warrant for 5324 Hull Street Road, Apartment 14, Richmond, Virginia. Later that day, the DEA executed the federal search warrant. During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement observed Lawrence jump from a second story balcony of the residence and attempt to flee. Lawrence was immediately apprehended by law enforcement.

A search of the residence revealed three firearms, a 20 ton hydraulic press containing approximately 900 grams of heroin, multiple blenders, cutting agents, and cell phones.

The parties stipulated that Lawrence conspired with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 913.2 grams of heroin.

b. Procedural Background

On June 8, 2011, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a two-count Indictment against Lawrence alleging distribution of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (ECF No. 1.) On July 13, 2011, the grand jury returned a seven-count superseding indictment against Lawrence and two other individuals, alleging: (1) conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count One); (2) distribution of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Counts Two through Four); (3) possession with the intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(Count Five); and (4) possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Counts Six and Seven). (ECF No. 12.)

On January 3, 2012, the United States filed a one-count criminal information charging Lawrence with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. (ECF No. 44.) On that same day, Lawrence entered into a plea agreement with the United States wherein he would plead guilty to count one of the criminal information and the United States would move to dismiss both pending indictments. (ECF No. 49.) Lawrence then pleaded guilty to count one before this Court, pursuant to a written plea agreement and accompanying statement of facts. (ECF Nos. 49, 50.) On April 2, 2012, this Court sentenced Lawrence to 132 months' imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release. Lawrence did not appeal his conviction. On March 17, 2014, Lawrence filed a pro se "Motion for Rule 60(b)(6), " (ECF No. 117), which was denied by this Court on March 25, 2014, (ECF No. 118).

Lawrence filed his present § 2255 Motion in this Court on April 24, 2014.[1] In his § 2255 Motion, Lawrence alleges two grounds for relief:

Ground One: Ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to appeal a two-point enhancement
Ground Two: The sentencing enhancements imposed were overruled in Alleyne v. United ...

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