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Woodley v. United States

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

October 26, 2016

JERRELL IVEY WOODLEY, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Civil Action No. 2:16cv333

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Raymond A. Jackson United States District Judge

         Jerrell Ivey Woodley ("Petitioner") has submitted a Motion pursuant to Title 28 United States Code Section 2255 to Vacate and Correct Sentence ("§ 2255 Motion"). Having thoroughly reviewed the Parties' filings in this case, the Court finds this matter is ripe for judicial determination. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's § 2255 Motion is DENIED and Respondent's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 8, 2011, an Eastern District of Virginia Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Petitioner with two counts. ECF No. 3. On September 16, 2011, Petitioner pled guilty to count fifty-seven of the indictment. ECF No. 296. Count fifty-seven charged Petitioner with Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). ECF No. 297. On January 4, 2012, the Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of one hundred and twenty months imprisonment on count fifty-seven. ECF No. 413.

         On June 23, 2016, Petitioner filed a pro se Motion to Vacate Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("§ 2255") and the Supreme Court's ruling in Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). ECF No. 499. On July 1, 2016, the Court ordered the Federal Public Defender to represent Petitioner in this matter. ECF No. 509. On July 21, 2016, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 524. On July 22, 2016, the Federal Public Defender responded to Respondent's Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 529.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         When a petitioner in federal custody wishes to collaterally attack his sentence or conviction, the appropriate motion is a § 2255 motion. United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203 (4th Cir. 2003). Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code governs post-conviction relief for federal prisoners. It provides in pertinent part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         In a proceeding to vacate a judgment of conviction, the petitioner bears the burden of proving his or her claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958).

         Motions under § 2255 "will not be allowed to do service for an appeal." Sunal v. Large, 332 U.S. 174, 178 (1947). For this reason, issues already fully litigated on direct appeal may not be raised again under the guise of a collateral attack. Boeckenhaupt v. United States, 537 F.2d 1182, 1183 (4th Cir. 1976).

         When deciding a § 2255 motion, the Court must promptly grant a hearing "unless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). Whether a hearing is mandatory for a § 2255 Motion and whether petitioner's presence is required at the hearing is within the district court's sound discretion and is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th Cir. 1970) (citing Machibroda v. United States, 368 U.S. 487 (1962)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A § 2255 motion is subject to a one-year statute of limitations. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). The beginning date for that one-year limitations period is not universal, but is dependent upon the motion's allegations. Petitioner's § 2255 Motion is not timely under § 2255(0(1) because he filed more than one year after his judgment of conviction became final. The motion is not timely under § 2255(f)(2) because Petitioner alleges no unlawful governmental action that prevented him from filing the § 2255 ...


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