United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DONTREAUN T. ALEXANDER, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ANTOON II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the Court on Petitioner Dontreaun T.
Alexander's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence ("Motion to Vacate/' Doc. 1) filed pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government filed a Response to
the Motion to Vacate ("Response," Doc. 5).
Petitioner filed a Reply to the Response ("Reply,"
asserts five grounds for relief. For the following reasons,
the Motion to Vacate is denied.
was charged by superseding indictment with aiding and
abetting in Hobbs Act robbery (Count One) in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1951 and 18 U.S.C. § 2, aiding and
abetting in the brandishing of a firearm during and in
relation to a crime of violence (Count Two) in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), and possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon (Count Four) in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). (Criminal No. 6:15- cr-18-Orl-28GJK,
Doc. 21.) Pursuant to a plea agreement, Petitioner
entered a plea of guilty to Counts One and Two. (Criminal
Case, Doc. 39; Doc. 5-1.) The Court dismissed Count Four in
accordance with the plea agreement. (Doc. 5-2 at 28.) The
Court sentenced Petitioner to a 262-month term of
imprisonment consisting of a 178-month term of imprisonment
for Count One and a consecutive 84-month term of imprisonment
for Count Two. (Doc. 5-2 at 24.) Petitioner appealed, and the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. (Doc. 5-3 at
2255 allows federal prisoners to obtain collateral relief
under limited circumstances:
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established
by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the
ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court
was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the
sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or
is otherwise subject to attack, may move the court which
imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). To obtain this relief, a petitioner
must "clear a significantly higher hurdle than would
exist on direct appeal/' United States v. Frady,
456 U.S. 152, 166 (1982) (rejecting the plain error standard
as not sufficiently deferential to a final judgment).
"[I]f the petitioner 'alleges facts that, if true,
would entitle him to relief, then the district court should
order an evidentiary hearing and rule on the merits of his
claim/" Avon v. United States, 291
F.3d 708, 714-15 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Holmes v.
United States, 876 F.2d 1545, 1552 (11th Cir.1989)). In
the event a claim is meritorious, the court "shall
vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the
prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct
the sentence as may appear appropriate'' 28 U.S.C.
asserts counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to
object to the Government's breach of the plea agreement.
(Doc. 1 at 4.) According to Petitioner, the Government
breached the plea agreement by failing to object to the
career offender enhancement and advocating that Petitioner
"receive an offense level greater than that stipulated
in the plea agreement, and thus failing to adhere to the
stipulated base offense level of 20." (Doc. 1-1 at 3-4.)
Supreme Court of the United States in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), established a two-part
test for determining whether a convicted person is entitled
to relief on the ground that his counsel rendered ineffective
assistance: (1) whether counsel's performance was
deficient and "fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness"; and (2) whether the deficient
performance prejudiced the defense. Id. at 687-88.
The prejudice requirement of the Strickland inquiry
is modified when the claim is a challenge to a guilty plea
based on ineffective assistance. See Hill v.
Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 58-59 (1985). To satisfy the
prejudice requirement in such instances, "the defendant
must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but
for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty
and would have insisted on going to trial." Id.
has not established deficient performance or prejudice.
Contrary to Petitioner's contention, the plea agreement
did not provide that Petitioner would receive a base offense
level of twenty or prohibit the Government from agreeing with
the probation office's determination that Petitioner was
a career offender, which resulted in a greater guideline
range. See Criminal Case, Doc. 39 at 4. Instead, the
plea agreement required the Government to recommend that
Petitioner "receive a sentence at the low end of the
applicable guideline range, as calculated by the Court/'
(Id.) Nothing in the plea agreement prohibited the
Government from agreeing with the determination that
Petitioner qualified as a career offender or required the
Government to object to the career offender ...