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United States v. Albrechta

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

July 22, 2015

MARK T. ALBRECHTA, Petitioner. Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-723


JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Mark T. Albrechta'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. 64). For the reasons set forth below, the § 2255 Motion is DENIED.


a. Factual Background

According to the Statement of Facts (ECF No. 30), from on or about May 1, 2013 and continuing through or in about May 21, 2013, Petitioner, Mark T. Albrechta ("Albrechta" or "Petitioner"), did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with others to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride. Additionally, on May 21, 2013, Albrechta, having previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, did knowingly and unlawfully possess a firearm.

Specifically, on May 21, 2013, law enforcement officers of the Virginia State Police and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed a lawful search warrant at Albrechta's residence in Hanover County, Virginia. During the course of that search, agents located over 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride.[1] Law enforcement also located scales and packaging materials, as well as a shotgun, inside the residence. After being Mirandized, Albrechta agreed to speak with law enforcement. Albrechta admitted to purchasing the cocaine found in his residence earlier in the month of May 2013 from co-conspirators, and intended to distribute it in the Richmond, Virginia area. Albrechta also admitted to knowingly possessing the shotgun.

b. Procedural Background

Albrechta was arrested pursuant to a Criminal Complaint on May 21, 2013. He was then charged on July 17, 2013 in a two-count Criminal Information, alleging (1) conspiracy to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 ("count one"); and (2) possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) ("count two"). (ECF No. 21.)

On August 23, 2013, Albrechta pled guilty to the Criminal Information. (ECF No. 29.) He was sentenced by this Court on January 10, 2014 to 108 months' imprisonment and four years of supervised release on count one, and 108 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release on count two, to run concurrently to count one. (ECF No. 49.) Albrechta was represented by Valencia Roberts ("Roberts").[2] Despite the waiver of appeal in his plea agreement, Albrechta filed a notice of appeal on March 17, 2014. (ECF No. 51.) On August 21, 2014, the Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal as untimely. (ECF Nos. 56, 57.)

On October 21, 2014, Albrechta filed the instant § 2255 Motion. In his § 2255 Motion, Petitioner alleges five grounds for relief:

Ground One: Relief under United States Sentencing Guideline ("U.S.S.G.") § 5H1.6, citing the need to care for his parents
Ground Two: Malicious Prosecution-(1) falsifying information in the complaint; (2) denial of a detention (bond) hearing; (3) invalid confession due to the complaint being falsified; and (4) false statements in documents filed by the Government
Ground Three: Ineffective assistance of counsel for the following reasons: withheld detention hearing from the defendant; withheld all pleadings and discovery from the defendant; refused to advise on appellate case; withheld information from the government regarding his personal business; and refused to assist with his medical problems
Ground Four: Multiple medical conditions were not treated properly
Ground Five: Albrechta provided substantial assistance to the government but did not receive any sentence reduction

The United States filed a response in opposition on June 17, 2015 ("Gov'ts Resp.") (ECF No. 73).[3] Albrechta failed to file a reply and his time for doing so has now passed. (ECF No. 69.) The issue is now ripe for review.


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 ...

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