United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Anturan D. Morris' Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody ("§ 2255 Motion") (ECF No. 47). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the § 2255 Motion.
a. Factual Background
On December 10, 2012, Richmond Police Department officers were patrolling the Fairfield Court housing project, in the City of Richmond, and observed the Petitioner, Anturan D. Morris ("Morris" or "Petitioner"), and other individuals standing in the street, possibly trespassing. When the officers approached the group of individuals, Morris took off running in the opposite direction. Officers pursued Morris and during the pursuit Morris was observed pulling a handgun from the inside area of his coat and throwing the handgun to the ground. The handgun was secured and Morris was apprehended.
After being Mirandized, Morris was transported to Richmond City Jail. He stated that he was carrying the gun due to unknown individuals shooting at his mother's house on North 23rd Street, and that the gun was for protection.
b. Procedural Background
On April 2, 2013, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a one-count indictment (ECF No. 1) against Morris, charging him with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) ("Count One"). Morris was arrested on the indictment on May 20, 2013. He then pleaded not guilty to Count One, and requested a trial by jury. (ECF No. 10.)
On July 23, 2013, the jury trial in this matter commenced. Following a one-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on Count One of the indictment. ( See ECF Nos. 24, 27.) On October 30, 2013, this Court sentenced Morris to 51 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release. (ECF No. 36.) Morris then filed a Notice of Appeal on November 7, 2013. (ECF No. 38.) On June 11, 2014, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Morris' conviction. (ECF Nos. 44, 45.)
On September 30, 2014, Morris filed the instant § 2255 Motion. In his § 2255 Motion, Petitioner alleges one ground for relief:
Ground One: Ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to challenge the indictment based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction
The United States filed a response in opposition on May 1, 2015 ("Gov'ts Resp.") (ECF No. 50). Morris subsequently filed a reply on May 22, 2015 ("Reply Mem.") (ECF No. 51). The issue is now ripe for review.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("§ 2255"), a prisoner in federal custody may attack his sentence on four grounds: (1) the sentence violates the Constitution or the 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. § 2255(a); see also Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 426-27 (1962). A claim which does not challenge the constitutionality of a sentence or the court's jurisdiction is cognizable in a § 2255 motion only if the alleged violation constitutes a "miscarriage of justice." United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979). To prevail under § 2255, the movant bears the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958); United States v. King, 36 F.Supp.2d 705, 707 (E.D. Va. 1999). A pro se petitioner ...