United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.
Walker, a federal inmate proceeding pro
se7 submitted this motion and a supporting
memorandum under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside,
or correct his sentence ("§ 2255 Motion, " ECF
No. 67.). The Government has responded. (ECF No. 79.) Walker
filed an unsworn Reply. (ECF No. 82.) The matter is ripe for
§ 2255, Walker lists five Claims that are comprised of
various subparts and are repetitive, conclusory, and wholly
meritless. For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny
the § 2255 Motion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 20, 2013, the grand jury charged Walker with
conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute one kilogram or more of a mixture and substance
containing a detectable about of heroin (Count One), and
possession with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or
more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable
amount of heroin (Count Two). (Indictment 1-2, ECF No. 1.) On
April 11, 2014, Walker pled guilty, pursuant to a written
plea agreement, to Count One of the Indictment. (Plea
Agreement ¶ 1, ECF No. 17.) In the Statement of Facts
supporting the Plea Agreement, Walker agreed that "the
following facts [were] true and correct and that had the
matter gone to trial the United States could have proven each
of them beyond a reasonable doubt":
From in or about January 2007, and continuing through in or
about November 2013, in the Eastern District of Virginia and
elsewhere within the jurisdiction of this Court, ANGELA
WALKER did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully combine,
conspire, confederate, and agree with others to distribute,
and possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram or more
of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, this amount of
heroin being reasonably foreseeable to the defendant, in
violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.
On May 25, 2012, law enforcement officers of the Virginia
State Police made a lawful traffic stop of a vehicle in
Henrico, Virginia. The defendant, WALKER, was a passenger in
that vehicle. The troopers conducted a search of the car and
found 759.5 grams of heroin located inside. Prior to the stop
of this vehicle, law enforcement had been alerted to the fact
that WALKER was traveling to the area to deliver a large
amount of heroin to several buyers in the Richmond area. In
fact, WALKER possessed the heroin found in the vehicle with
the intent to distribute it.
Moreover, several reliable cooperating sources corroborated
that WALKER was a heroin trafficker from the New Jersey area,
who traveled to the Richmond area to distribute heroin. Many
of these cooperators made statements against their penal
interest and admitted to purchasing heroin in the Eastern
District of Virginia from WALKER numerous times over the
course of the conspiracy period.
The parties agree that the attributable amount of drugs for
sentencing purposes is at least one kilogram, but less than
three kilograms of heroin.
(Statement of Facts 1-2, ECF No. 18 (paragraph numbers
Plea Agreement, Walker agreed that she understood that she
could receive a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten
years and a maximum term of life. (Plea Agreement ¶ 1.)
Walker agreed that she was pleading guilty because she was
"in fact guilty of the charged offense" and that
she "admit[ted] the facts set forth in the statement of
facts . . . and agree[d] that those facts establish guilt of
the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt."
(Id. ¶ 3.) Walker also agreed that she was
"satisfied that [her] attorney has rendered effective
assistance, " and that by entering into the Plea
Agreement that she surrendered her right to "plead not
guilty, " and her "right to a jury trial, "
including her right "at trial to confront and
cross-examine adverse witnesses . . . ." (Id.
the Rule 11 hearing, Walker agreed that she understood that
Count One carried a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years
of imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
(Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 5, ECF No. 78.) Walker agreed that she
"had a sufficient opportunity to discuss with [her]
attorney everything about [her] case, including any possible
defenses, as well as . whether or not to plead guilty"
(Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 6), and that she was "entirely
satisfied with what [her] attorney has done for [her] ."
(Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 7 J Walker agreed that she understood that
she was waiving her right "to demand that the government
prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt" about her
guilt. (Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 8.) Walker understood that by
pleading guilty, she was "admitting the elements and
[she was] admitting that the government can prove the
charges." (Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 8.) She also indicated that
she understood that she was waiving her trial rights,
including "[t]he right to see and hear all the evidence
against [her], the right to the effective assistance of
counsel at all stages . . . includ[ing] a trial, [and t]he
right to confront and cross-examine any witness." (Apr.
11, 2014 Tr. 8.)
agreed that, if the Court accepted her guilty plea, "the
only issue remaining would be what sentence is to be
determined." (Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 9.) Walker agreed that
she was pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and
possession with intent to distribute one kilogram of more of
heroin because she was guilty of that charge and the facts
set forth in the Statement of Facts were true. (April 11,
2014 Tr. 16, 17.) When asked whether there was "anything
in these facts that [she thought was] wrong or should be
changed, or corrected or explained or deleted, " Walker
stated: "No ma'am." (Apr. 11, 2014 Tr. 17.)
Court found that Walker's guilty plea was knowing and
voluntary, that it was " supported by an independent
basis in fact containing each of the essential elements of
the offense, " and that Walker was "competent and
capable of entering an informed plea." (Apr. 11, 2014
Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR, " ECF No.
33), also provided the following information pertaining to
In addition to the Statement of Facts, a review of the
Government's file revealed that the defendant first came
to the attention of the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2 007,
when a conspirator identified her as being a major source of
heroin. He stated that from 2004 until 2007, he purchased
between 10 and 15 ounces of heroin from the defendant
approximately once or twice per month.
A second individual was interviewed in 2 009, and again in
2013. He indicated that from 2007 until 2009, he purchased a
total of approximately 6 kilograms of heroin from the
defendant over multiple transactions.
In May 2012, another conspirator was developed as a
cooperating source by law enforcement. He cooperated and
revealed to law enforcement authorities that he had arranged
a heroin drug transaction with the defendant that was to
occur on May 25, 2012, in Richmond, Virginia. The drug
transaction was to involve approximately 25 ounces of heroin.
On May 25, 2012, law enforcement authorities monitored the
defendant's cellular telephone and tracked the
defendant's vehicle, a rented 2012 Acura TSX with
Maryland plates, from New Jersey to Virginia. The vehicle
traveled southbound on Interstate 95, and it was subsequently
stopped by law enforcement authorities on Parham Road in
Henrico County, Virginia. Three individuals, including the
defendant, occupied the vehicle. The vehicle was driven by
the defendant's sister, Stephanie Barrett, and a friend,
Tierra Powell, was seated in the back seat. The defendant was
seated in the front passenger seat. A subsequent search of
the vehicle recovered 759.5 grams of heroin in a purse
located in the back seat of the vehicle. The defendant and
two other occupants of the vehicle were thereafter arrested.
After her arrest, Tierra Powell [admitted] during an
interview by law enforcement authorities to accompanying the
defendant on four prior trips to the Richmond, Virginia area
to conduct heroin transactions. Ms. Powell also stated that
the defendant had rented a vehicle as the defendant's
Honda Accord was having work performed by a mechanic. Ms.
Powell revealed that the defendant's Honda Accord had a
"trap" or secret compartment in the dash board that
could be opened and closed by pulling the emergency brake and
then pushing the sunroof button. On May 31, 2012, law
enforcement authorities executed a search and seizure warrant
on a 2004 Honda Accord EX located at Tishcer Acura, Laurel,
Maryland, which revealed this concealed compartment as
indicated by Ms. Powell.
When questioned by law enforcement authorities after their
arrest, Stephanie Barrett and the defendant denied any
knowledge of the heroin recovered from the vehicle.
(PSR ¶¶ 10-15.)
determined that Walker's base offense level was 32
because the offense involved between one and three kilograms
of heroin as the parties agreed in the Plea Agreement. (PSR
Wkst. A, at 1.) Walker received a three-point reduction for
acceptance of responsibility, resulting in an offense total
of 29. (Id. Wkst. D, at 1.) Walker's criminal
history category was IV, resulting in a sentencing guidelines
range of 121 to 151 months of incarceration. (Id.)
On September 11, 2014, the Court sentenced Walker to the
mandatory minimum of 12 0 months of incarceration below the
recommended guidelines range. (J. 2, ECF No. 3 9.) Walker
filed no appeal.
August 25, 2015, Walker filed the instant § 2255 Motion.
GROUNDS FOR RELIEF
lists five claims that are comprised of various subparts.
Walker's claims are essentially in list format and are
repetitive, vague, conclusory, belied by the record, and
wholly meritless. In her § 2255 Motion, Walker raises
the following claims for relief:
One: Counsel provided ineffective assistance at the
"Indictment Stage" by:
(a) "fail[ing] to challenge the Indictment as it listed
a conspiracy charge and the explanation by the witnesses in
my case is clearly a buyer-seller relationship" (§
2255 Mot. 4);
(b) ''fail[ing] to challenge the witness statements
as the dates given Ms. Walker was in prison in New York"
(c) failing to "challenge  all aspects of charge Count
Two which was dropped when Ms. Walker pled to Count ...