United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
Zachary T. Lee, Assistant United States Attorney, Abingdon,
Virginia, for United States;
Batiste Rondeau, Pro Se Defendant.
P. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
defendant, Ramone Batiste Rondeau, proceeding pro se, filed a
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255, based on claims that he is
impermissibly serving a double sentence for the same crime.
The government filed a Motion to Dismiss, and the time for
Rondeau to respond has expired, making the matter ripe for
disposition. After reviewing the record, I will grant the
United States’ Motion to Dismiss.
and 17 codefendants were named in a multi-count Indictment.
Rondeau was charged with conspiring to distribute and
possessing with the intent to distribute 280 grams or more of
cocaine base, and five kilograms or more of cocaine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(b)(1)(A) and
841(b)(1)(C) (Count One).
pleaded guilty, pursuant to a written Plea Agreement, to
Count One. (Plea Agreement 1, ECF No. 333.) The Plea
Agreement provided that the conspiracy involved at least 22.4
grams of cocaine base, resulting in a base offense level of
24 under the Sentencing Guidelines, although it also noted
that other guideline sections might apply to his case.
(Id. at 3.) Rondeau agreed to waive his right to
collaterally attack his conviction and sentence except for
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. (Id. at
8.) Under the terms of the Plea Agreement, the government
agreed to request a sentence within the guideline range.
guilty plea hearing, Rondeau stated that he had been afforded
an adequate opportunity to read and discuss the Plea
Agreement with counsel before signing it. (Plea Hr’g
Tr. 9, ECF No. 699.) Rondeau further affirmed that he was
“fully satisfied with [his] attorney’s
affirmed his understanding that by pleading guilty, he gave
up his right to appeal and to collaterally attack his
sentence except as to matters that cannot be waived under the
law or that allege ineffective assistance of counsel.
(Id. at 14-15.) I found Rondeau to be fully
competent and capable of entering an informed plea and
determined that his guilty plea was knowing and voluntary.
(Id. at 23.)
Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”)
recommended a total offense level of 29 and a criminal
history category of VI because Rondeau qualified as a career
offender under United States Sentencing Guideline Manual
§ 4B1.1(b) based on two prior drug convictions. As a
result, he had a guideline imprisonment range of 151 to 188
months. (PSR ¶ 46, ECF No. 456.) The PSR listed his
criminal history, which included a Virginia state court
conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to
distribute, possession of a firearm while in possession of
drugs and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
(Id. at ¶ 27.) That state court conviction
relied on the same conduct for which he pleaded guilty in
federal court, and he received a three-year state sentence.
(Id.) Rondeau’s counsel did not object to the
sentencing hearing, counsel called Rondeau to testify and
elicited testimony that Rondeau had been serving a three-year
sentence on state charges when he was federally indicted for
conduct related to the same drug conspiracy. (Sentencing
Hr’g Tr. 4, ECF No. 697.) Rondeau told the court that
“[t]he offense that I’m being charged with today,
I feel like I already justified by the time I got in the
state penitentiary.” (Id. at 8.) Defense
counsel argued at sentencing that although the state and
federal convictions were different, “the equities
dictate[d] . . . that the court should consider the 36
month” state sentence when imposing a sentence on the
federal charge. (Id. at 17.) I agreed with counsel
and considered “the fact that he . . . has served time
already for involvement in the offense for which he’s
being punished today, ” along with other mitigating
factors. (Id. at 24.) I sentenced Rondeau
substantially below the guideline range to 36 months’
imprisonment. (J. 2, ECF No. 452.) He did not appeal.
§ 2255 motion, Rondeau alleges (1) that counsel provided
ineffective assistance by failing to object to the fact that
he had served three years in prison on charges related to the
federal conspiracy to which he pleaded guilty; (2) that his
sentence is unconstitutional due to double jeopardy; and (3)
that the PSR failed to disclose that he had served three
years for the state sentence. (Mot. to Vacate 4-5, ECF No.
state a viable claim for relief under § 2255, a
defendant must prove: (1) that his sentence was
“imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of
the United States”; (2) that “the court was
without jurisdiction to impose such sentence”; or (3)
that “the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral
attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Rondeau bears the
burden of ...