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United States v. Harrison

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

August 24, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
TYRONE ANTHONY HARRISON

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.

         Tyrone Anthony Harris, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("§ 2255 Motion, " ECF No. 35). After the Clerk transmitted the § 2255 Motion to the United States, Harrison submitted a Motion for Leave to Amend the § 2255 Motion. (ECF No. 40.) On September 6, 2016, the Government filed its response to both the § 2255 Motion and the Motion for Leave to Amend. (ECF No. 42.) Harrison then filed a Reply. (ECF No. 43.)

         On October 7, 2016, the Court received a Letter Motion to Amend from Harrison. (ECF No. 44.) In his Letter Motion to Amend, Harrison requested that the Court withdraw his initial § 2255 Motion, and indicated that he would be submitting another motion in its place. (Id. at 1.) On October 17, 2016, the Court received Harrison's second motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("Amended § 2255 Motion, " ECF No. 45-1.) Because Harrison explicitly stated that he desired to withdraw his initial § 2255 Motion, the Court will grant Harrison's Letter Motion to Amend (ECF No. 44) . Accordingly, the Amended § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 45-1) supplants the initial § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 35) . That motion (ECF No. 35) and the Motion for Leave to Amend (ECF No. 40) will be denied as moot. The action therefore proceeds solely on the Amended § 2255 Motion. (ECF No. 45-1.) In his Amended § 2255 Motion, Harrison raises the following claims for relief:

Claim One: "Mr. Harrison is actually innocent of the guilty plea enter[ed] where the plea enter[ed] was not voluntary, knowing and intell[igent] and followed by a[n] inadequate factual basis for the plea." (Am. § 2255 Mot. 2.)[[1]]
Claim Two: "The district court erred when accepting the plea when the district court failed to establish[] under [Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure] 11 that the guilty plea was not voluntarily and knowingly, intelligently entered." (Id.)[2]
Claim Three: "Mr. Harrison's counsel was ineffective [for failing] to object to the plea agreement and at the plea hearing where the plea was not enter[ed] . . . voluntarily and knowingly." (Id.)

         By Memorandum Order entered on October 26, 2016, the Court directed the Government to respond to Harrison's Amended § 2255 Motion. (ECF No. 46.) The Government filed its response on January 20, 2017, arguing that Harrison's claims lack merit. (ECF No. 54.) For the reasons set forth below, Harrison's Amended § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 45-1) will be denied.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 21, 2014, a grand jury charged Harrison with one count of possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Indictment 1-2, ECF No. 9.) On December 16, 2014, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment, charging Harrison with two counts of possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine (Counts One and Five); two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Counts Two and Six); two counts of distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine (Counts Three and Four); and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Seven). (Superseding Indictment 1-4, ECF No. 12.)

         On March 4, 2015, Harrison entered into a Plea Agreement and pled guilty to Count Seven. (Plea Agreement ¶ 1, ECF No. 18.) In the Statement of Facts supporting the Plea Agreement, Harrison agreed that "the factual allegations contained in this Statement of Facts and in Count Seven of the pending Superseding Indictment are true and correct, and that the United States could have proven them beyond a reasonable doubt." (Statement of Facts 1, ECF No. 19.) Accordingly, Harrison agreed that:

1. On or about September 30, 2014, in the Eastern District of Virginia and within the jurisdiction of this, TYRONE ANTHONY HARRISON, in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime for which he may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, to wit: Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, as charged in Count Five of the Superseding Indictment; which Count is incorporated by reference herein, did knowingly and unlawfully possess a firearm, to wit: a Glock Model 27, .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, serial number RBP039. (In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)) .
2. The defendant has previously been convicted of this offense. As such, the defendant understands that the mandatory minimum sentence is twenty-five years' imprisonment, and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment, a fine of $250, 000, and not more than 5 years of supervised release.
3. On September 30, 2014, TYRONE ANTHONY HARRISON was arrested on a federal arrest warrant. Members of the AFT and Henrico County Police took HARRISON into custody at 1720 Williamsburg Road, Richmond, VA.
4. When arrested, HARRISON had been operating a 2006 Dodge Charger. Upon being arrested, HARRISON admitted that the vehicle was his. He gave the agents permission to search his vehicle. Law enforcement officers located a ...

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