United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the court upon Defendant's Motion to
Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. (ECF No. 41). The Government has filed a
response (ECF No. 47) and Defendant filed a reply. (ECF No.
48). The case was referred to the undersigned for the
issuance of all preliminary orders and any recommendations to
the district court regarding dispositive matters.
See N.D. Fla. Loc. R. 72.2; see also 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). After a careful
review of the record and the arguments presented, it is the
opinion of the undersigned that Defendant has not raised any
issue requiring an evidentiary hearing and that the §
2255 motion should be denied. See Rules Governing
Section 2255 Cases 8(a) and (b).
March 5, 2014, Defendant Danny Chandler, Jr., was charged in
a four-count indictment with possession of cocaine and crack
cocaine with intent to distribute (“Count One”),
possession of a short-barreled shotgun in connection with the
offense in Count One (“Count Two”), possession of
an unregistered short-barred shotgun (“Count
Three”) and possession of a short-barreled shotgun by a
convicted felon (“Count Four”). (ECF No. 1). On
May 1, 2014, represented by Federal Public Defender Randy
Murrell, Defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to a written plea
agreement to Counts One, Two and Four. (ECF Nos. 17, 18, 19,
36). The plea agreement, which was the standard plea
agreement used in this district, set forth the penalties
Defendant faced including a mandatory minimum term of ten
years imprisonment on Count Two, and the fact that this term
must be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment
that the court imposed. (ECF No. 18 at 1-2).
Final Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”)
reflected a total offense level of 23, and a criminal history
category of IV. (ECF No. 23, PSR ¶¶ 19-30, 38). The
guidelines range for Counts One and Four was 70 to 87 months,
followed by the consecutive mandatory term of 120 months on
Count Two. (ECF No. 23, PSR ¶¶ 68, 69).
court sentenced Defendant to a total term of 180 months,
which was slightly below the applicable guidelines range.
(ECF No. 34 at 14; ECF Nos. 25, 26).
appealed, arguing that the district court improperly
considered his prior conviction for possession of cocaine
with intent to distribute to be controlled substance offense
as defined by U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(b). (ECF No. 39). The
Eleventh Circuit found his argument to be foreclosed by
recent precedent and affirmed.
timely filed the instant motion, raising two grounds for
relief. He claims that his guilty plea was not voluntary,
intelligent, and knowing and that the inclusion of a
“collateral challenge waiver” in the plea
agreement was a violation of his sixth amendment right to
conflict-free counsel. The Government opposes the motion.
2255 does not provide a remedy for every alleged error in
conviction and sentencing.” Spencer v. United
States, 773 F.3d 1132, 1138 (11th Cir. 2014). Collateral
review is not a substitute for direct appeal, and therefore
the grounds for collateral attack on final judgments pursuant
to § 2255 are extremely limited. A prisoner is entitled
to relief under section 2255 if the court imposed a sentence
that (1) violated the Constitution or laws of the United
States, (2) exceeded its jurisdiction, (3) exceeded the
maximum authorized by law, or (4) is otherwise subject to
collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a);
McKay v. United States, 657 F.3d 1190, 1194 n.8
(11th Cir. 2011). “Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
>is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights
and for that narrow compass of other injury that could not
have been raised in direct appeal and would, if condoned,
result in a complete miscarriage of justice.'”
Lynn v. United States, 365 F.3d 1225, 1232 (11th
Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). An evidentiary hearing is
unnecessary when “the motion and files and records
conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no
relief.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b);
Rosin, 786 F.3d at 877; Gordon v. United
States, 518 F.3d 1291, 1301 (11th Cir. 2008).
Grounds for Relief
first ground for relief contains two subparts. First, he
claims that the Government's promise to seek a sentence
reduction based on his acceptance of responsibility was
illusory because his sentence was fixed by the statutory
maximum. He asks for the judgment to be vacated and for him
to be allowed to plead to a charge without a mandatory
minimum. Defendant's argument is flawed.
plea agreement contains no “promise” that the
Government would seek a reduced sentence based on his
acceptance of responsibility. The standard plea agreement
provides that the sentence is left solely to the discretion
of the district court, that any prediction of the sentence is
neither a guarantee nor a binding promise and that the
sentence is not subject to accurate prediction due to the
variety and complexity of issues that are taken into account.
(ECF No. 18 at 3). Adverse rulings or a sentence greater than
anticipated were not grounds for withdrawal of the plea.
(Id.) The Government reserved the right to ...