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United States v. Farmer

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division

January 2, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHN DEWAYNE FARMER, Defendant.

          Zachary T. Lee, Assistant United States Attorney, Abingdon, Virginia, for United States; John Dewayne Farmer, Pro Se Defendant.

          OPINION

          James P. Jones, United States District Judge.

         The defendant, proceeding pro se, has filed a motion seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He has raised multiple claims, including an ineffective assistance of counsel claim for failing to note an appeal. The government has filed a motion to dismiss. I appointed counsel and held an evidentiary hearing limited to the appeal issue, and by oral opinion, dismissed that claim. Min. Entry, Nov. 30, 2018, ECF No. 1100. After reviewing the record, I will grant the government's motion to dismiss with regard to Farmer's remaining claims.

         I.

         After pleading guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement, the defendant was sentenced by this court on July 13, 2017, to a total term of 240 months imprisonment, consisting of 240 months on Count One of the Indictment and 240 months on Count Two, to run concurrently. Count One charged the defendant with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(C), 841(b)(1)(E), and 843(d), and Count Two charged him with conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). In his § 2255 motion, in addition to the appeal issue, the defendant contends that his previous counsel was ineffective in six ways:

1. Failing to object to Farmer being sentenced for money laundering rather than “general conspiracy, ” § 2255 Mot. 4, ECF No. 957 (Ground One);
2. Advising him to waive his right to speedy trial (Ground Two);
3. Advising him incorrectly about his sentencing exposure (Ground Three);
4. Failing to object to the calculation of his offense level given that he had no criminal history (Ground Five);
5. Advising him to enter into an “open plea, ” thus relieving the government of its burden of proving knowledge and intent, id. at 13 (Ground Seven); and
6. Failing to object to the drug quantity used in calculating his base offense level (Ground Eight).

         Farmer also asserts that “[t]he word ‘proceeds' as used in 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) applies only to criminal profits are [sic] not merely to criminal receipts, or witness statements.” Id. (Ground Six).

         II.

         To 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). The movant bears the burden of ...


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