Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Jones

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

January 11, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RONNIE MAURICE JONES, Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Michael F. Urbanski United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Ronnie Maurice Jones, a federal inmate currently serving a 276-month sentence for drug offenses, has filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 572. On April 27, 2018, the United States filed a motion to dismiss to which Jones responded on November 5, 2018. ECF Nos. 579 and 593. For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS the government's motion to dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 5, 2014, in a third superseding indictment, Jones was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1000 grams or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of heroin and to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (Count 1); one count of knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count 2); one count of possessing with intent to distribute a measurable quantity of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin (Count 3); and one count of possessing a firearm which previously had been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce after he had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment (Count 4). ECF No. 122. On November 12, 2014, pursuant to a written plea agreement in accordance with Fed R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C), Jones pleaded guilty to Counts 1, 3, and 4. Count 2 was dismissed. ECF Nos. 281, 282, 283.

         At the time Jones entered die plea agreement, he acknowledged in writing that the parties agreed he would be sentenced to a 360-month term of imprisonment if no substantial assistance motion were made and a range of 180 months to 300 months if a substantial assistance motion were made and granted by the court. ECF No. 282 at 3. The written plea agreement detailed the range of punishment on each count and specified that Count 1 carried a punishment range of five years to life, a fine of up to $10 million and a minimum of five years supervised release; Count 3 carried a punishment range of up to thirty years, a fine of up to $2 million, and a minimum supervised release period of at least three years; and Count 4 was punishable by a sentence of up to ten years, a fine of $250, 000, and a five-year term of supervised release. Id. at 1-2.

         A change of plea hearing was held on November 12, 2014. At that time, the court explained the Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea process in detail. Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 500 at 10-12, 16. The government summarized the essential terms of the plea agreement, again indicating that Count 4 bore a period of incarceration of up to ten years. Id. at 12-13. The court also told Jones that it would not accept the plea and plea agreement until the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) was prepared and sentencing briefs by the parties received. Id. at 20-21.

         In advance of the anticipated sentencing date of April 22, 2015, a PSR was created. The PSR contained different statutory penalties than those reflected in die plea agreement. For Count 3, die statutory maximum was correctly noted to be twenty years, and for Count 4, die penalty was enhanced under die Armed Career Criminal Act to fifteen years to life. ECF No. 468.

         The sentencing did not occur on April 22, 2015 as scheduled. Instead, Jones addressed the court on certain communication issues with his lawyer[1] and die court explained die correct statutory sentencing ranges to Jones on Counts 3 and 4. As to Count 3, die court advised Jones that die statutory maximum penalty was twenty, and not thirty, years. As regards Count 4, the PSR categorized Jones as an armed career criminal based on his prior criminal record. Accordingly, die punishment range for Count 4 was a minimum of fifteen years to a maximum of life. Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 501 at 6-7, 12. The government explained that the change in die Count 4 punishment range had no effect on die plea agreement and die court told Jones that die punishment range was still 180 months to 300 months. Id. at 7. Jones stated that he understood the punishment range. Id. at 8, 12.

         At die April 22, 2015 hearing, die court again advised Jones of die meaning of a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea, and told Jones that as die court had not yet accepted die plea, Jones could withdraw it, stating:

The fact of the matter is this is a Rule 11(c)(1)(C), as we talked about when we met on November l2tii. I still haven't accepted it. I took it under advisement. So if you want to, you can withdraw it. You don't have to go forward with this.

Id. at 4.

         A sentencing hearing was rescheduled for June 3, 2015. At the outset of that hearing, the court again summarized the Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement and stated: "Now Mr. Jones, I took the plea under advisement. Do you still want to go forward with this plea agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C)?" Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 502 at 2-3. Jones responded, "Yes, Your Honor." Id. at 3.

         Jones was then sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement to a 276-month term of imprisonment on Count 1; 120 months on Count 3; and 180 months on Count 4, all to be served concurrently. ECF No. 473 at 2. The prison term is to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release on Counts 1 and 4 and a three-year term of supervised release on Count 3, also to run concurrently. Id. at 3.

         Jones filed a direct appeal and on February 16, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, finding that Jones had waived his right to appeal as part of his plea agreement. United States v. Jones. No. 15-4354 (4th Or. Feb. 16, 2016). ECF Nos. 522, 523. Jones sought a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court but it was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.