United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
CAMERON M. PERKINS, Petitioner,
DANA RATCLIFF WALKER, Respondent.
Elizabeth K. Dillon, United States District Judge.
M. Perkins, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the validity of his
confinement on a judgment by the Buckingham County Circuit
Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss, and Perkins
failed to respond, making the matter ripe for disposition.
After review of the record, the court grants the motion to
April 2, 2015, Perkins pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea
agreement, to three charges of possession with intent to
distribute cocaine and two charges of possession with intent
to distribute marijuana. The trial court sentenced Perkins to
twenty-five years' imprisonment, with all but five years
April 2nd hearing, counsel initially moved to withdraw.
However, the Commonwealth showed video footage of Perkins
exchanging drugs for money with a confidential informant, and
Perkins decided it was "in [his] best interests" to
enter into an Alfordplea. (Tr. 25, Dkt. No. 11,
Attach. 4.) Counsel then withdrew his motion to withdraw.
his plea colloquy, Perkins told the court that he: understood
the charges, was pleading guilty freely and voluntarily by
way of an Alford plea, had discussed the elements of
the charges with counsel, had enough time to discuss his
options with counsel, and was satisfied with counsel and did
not want him to withdraw.
in the written plea agreement, Perkins acknowledged that he
fully understood the charges against him, entered the guilty
plea freely and voluntarily, waived his right to a jury
trial, had ample time to discuss any possible defenses with
counsel, waived any right to appeal, and was satisfied with
counsel's performance. Pursuant to the plea bargain, the
Commonwealth agreed to nolle prosse seven additional charges
and also agreed to a disposition of an active sentence of
only five years.
the plea hearing, the Commonwealth outlined the evidence
against Perkins, describing videotapes that showed Perkins
possessing cocaine and marijuana and exchanging the drugs for
money with confidential informants. The trial court accepted
the plea and followed the agreed upon disposition in the plea
bargain, sentencing Perkins to twenty-five years'
imprisonment, with twenty years suspended. Regarding
Perkins's Alford plea, the court found that
"the evidence of guilt [was] overwhelming and
substantially negate[d] [Perkins's] claim of
innocence." Tr. 30.
did not pursue a direct appeal but did file a timely writ of
habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, alleging
1. Trial counsel misled, coerced, and forced petitioner into
2. Petitioner was denied his right to counsel of choice; and
3. Trial counsel abandoned petitioner without proper
state habeas court denied the petition. Claim 1 was barred
under Anderson v. Warden, 281 S.E.2d 885, 888 (Va.
1981), because Perkins did not offer a valid reason why he
should not be bound by his plea colloquy. Claim 2 was barred
under Slayton v. Parrigan, 205 S.E.2d 680, 682 (Va.
1974), because Perkins could have raised the issue at trial
and on direct appeal but failed to do so. Lastly, the court
rejected Claim 3 because Perkins failed to establish either
prong of ineffective assistance of counsel under
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984).
then timely filed the current petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, alleging the same three grounds as his state habeas
1. Ineffective assistance of counsel during the negotiating
process because defense counsel misled, coerced, and forced