United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
Zachary T. Lee, Assistant United States Attorney, Abingdon,
Virginia, for United States; Shauna Nicole Chafin, Defendant
P. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
defendant, proceeding pro se, has filed a motion seeking
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The United States has
filed a motion to dismiss, to which the movant has responded.
For the reasons stated, I will grant the motion to dismiss
and dismiss the § 2255 motion.
pleading guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement, the
defendant was sentenced by this court on June 21, 2017, to a
term of 97 months imprisonment on Count I of the Indictment,
which charged the defendant with conspiring to manufacture,
distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute
methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841, and
conspiring to knowingly and intentionally use a communication
facility in committing the offense, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 2255 motion, the defendant contends that her counsel
was ineffective in failing to request a minor or minimal role
reduction pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual
state a viable claim for relief under § 2255, a
defendant must prove: (1) that her 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 proving grounds for a collateral attack by a
preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United
States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958).
defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to effective legal
assistance. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668,
687 (1984). Ineffective assistance claims, however, are not
lightly granted - “[t]he benchmark for judging any
claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel's
conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the
adversarial process that the [proceeding] cannot be relied on
as having produced a just result.” Id. at 686.
To that end, a defendant must satisfy a two-prong analysis
showing both that counsel's performance fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness and that the defendant
was prejudiced by counsel's alleged deficient
performance. Id. at 687. To satisfy the prejudice
prong of Strickland, a defendant must show that
there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional error, the outcome of the proceeding would
have been different. Id. at 694.
sentencing guideline upon which Chafin relies states:
on the defendant's role in the offense, decrease the
offense level as follows:
(a) If the defendant was a minimal participant in any
criminal activity, decrease by 4 levels.
(b) If the defendant was a minor participant in any criminal
activity, decrease by 2 levels.
cases falling between (a) and (b), decrease by 3 levels.
has not shown that her counsel's failure to request such
a reduction was an unprofessional error or that it prejudiced
her. Had her counsel made such a request, I would have ...