United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Petitioner Jakeith Terrell Campbell's
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 164), and the Government's
Response in Opposition. (Doc. 173). This action was referred
to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for report and
recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Cases and is
now ready for consideration.Having carefully reviewed the
record, the undersigned finds that no evidentiary hearing is
necessary for the disposition of this matter. Upon
consideration, the undersigned hereby recommends that
Campbell's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 be
DENIED, that this action be
DISMISSED, and that judgment be entered in
favor of Respondent, the United States of America, and
against Petitioner, Jakeith Terrell Campbell. The undersigned
also recommends that should Campbell file a certificate of
appealability, it should be denied as he is not entitled to
appeal in forma pauperis.
was charged, along with several other defendants, in a
multiple-count indictment that included various drug and
firearm charges. (Doc. 1). Campbell entered a counseled
written plea agreement wherein he agreed to enter a guilty
plea to Count 1, conspiracy to unlawfully possess with intent
to distribute crack cocaine; and to Counts 4 and 7, both of
which charged using, carrying and possessing a firearm in
furtherance of, and in connection with, a drug trafficking
felony. (Doc. 80 at 1). The plea agreement included a waiver
which provides that “the defendant knowingly and
voluntarily waives the right to file any direct appeal or any
collateral attack, including a motion to vacate, set aside or
correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255” except in
cases of 1) “a sentence imposed in excess of the
statutory maximum”, 2) “a sentence which
constitutes an upward departure or variance from the advisory
guideline range” or 3) a claim of “ineffective
assistance of counsel”. (Id. at 10-11).
the change of plea hearing conducted on December 18, 2012,
Campbell testified, under oath, that he possessed an eighth
grade education, and could not read well, but his attorney
had read the plea agreement to him, and had discussed it with
him. (Doc. 17 at 2-3) . Campbell also testified that he
received a copy of the indictment, understood the charges
against him, discussed the charges with his attorney, and was
fully satisfied with his attorney's advice and
representation. (Id. at 2-3) . Additionally,
Campbell testified that he had not recently been treated for
any mental illnesses, and was not currently under the
influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication. (Id.).
Granade explained to Campbell the rights he would be waiving
by pleading guilty, and he confirmed he understood those
rights. (Id. at 7). Among the rights explained,
Judge Granade reviewed the right to trial by jury, the
presumption of innocence, the Government's burden to
prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the right to present
and cross-examine witnesses, and the right to remain silent.
(Id.). Campbell also confirmed that no one had
threatened, pressured, or promised him anything to plead
guilty, nor had anyone promised that he would receive a
specific sentence. (Id. at 6-7).
Granade also discussed with Campbell the potential penalties
he faced if he entered a guilty plea. (Id. at 7-8).
Campbell acknowledged that he understood the potential
penalties he faced, and further understood that the Court
could reject the Government's sentencing recommendation
and impose a more severe sentence than anticipated.
(Id. at 6). Campbell also confirmed that he and his
counsel had discussed the applicable sentencing guidelines
and how they might affect his sentence, and that he
understood the applicable guideline range would not be
calculated until the probation office had prepared a
presentence investigation report (“PSR”).
(Id. at 9). He further acknowledged that the
guideline range could be different than the estimate
initially given him by counsel, and that while the Court was
required to consider the guidelines when determining a
sentence, the guidelines are advisory and do not control the
sentence to be imposed. (Id.).
Judge Granade discussed with Campbell the appeal waiver
contained in the plea agreement, and that Campbell was giving
up his right to appeal his conviction and sentence except for
the three limited circumstances contained in the plea
agreement. (Id. at 10). Campbell confirmed that he
understood the terms of the appeal waiver. (Id. at
11-12). Campbell was also advised of the elements the
Government would have to prove in order to convict him, and
he acknowledged signing the factual resume attached to his
plea agreement, and agreed that the Government could prove
the facts set forth in the factual resume. Campbell then
pleaded guilty. (Id. at 11-13). The Court accepted
the plea, and found that Campbell was “fully competent
and capable of entering an informed plea”, “aware
of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the
plea”, and that the plea was “a knowing and
voluntary plea supported by an independent basis in fact
containing each of the essential elements of the
offense.” (Id. at 13).
to sentencing, the Government made a motion for downward
departure under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e). (Doc. 154).
Specifically, the Government recommended a departure from the
low end of the calculated guidelines range as to Count One,
namely 80 months, based on useful information Campbell had
provided. (Id.). Campbell's sentencing was held
on November 14, 2013. (Doc. 172). In light of Campbell's
cooperation, the Court granted Campbell a departure from the
guideline range for Count one, and sentenced Campbell to
fifty (50) months. (Doc. 155 at 2). Campbell was sentenced to
a consecutive sixty (60) month sentence on Count Four, and
three hundred (300) months on Count Seven, for a total
sentence of four hundred and one (401) months'
imprisonment. (Id.). Campbell did not file an
filed a motion to extend the time to appeal, which the Court
construed as a § 2255 federal habeas petition after
providing proper notice to Campbell. (Docs. 160, 161).
Subsequent thereto, Campbell filed the pending amended habeas
petition and brief, and the Government filed a response in
opposition. (Docs. 162, 164, 173).
undersigned observes, as a preliminary matter, that
Campbell's amended petition is not the model of clarity.
Based on a liberal reading of Campbell's amended petition
and brief, he appears to assert the following claims:
1) His guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary because of
his low intellect and because he was not competent at the
time of his guilty plea;
2) The District Court erred in failing to conduct a
competency hearing on its own motion;
3) He is actually innocent of the gun offenses;
4) His trial counsel was ineffective because he did not seek
a competency hearing before permitting Campbell to enter a
guilty plea, he did not conduct a proper investigation of the
fingerprints on the firearm, he did not file proper motions,
and he did not explain to Campbell the consequences of his
guilty plea. (Doc. 164-1 at 2, 5, 6-11).
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). A § 2255 motion may not be a substitute for a
direct appeal. Id. at 1232 (citing United States
v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165, 102 S.Ct. 1584, 1593, 71
L.Ed.2d 816 (1982)). The "fundamental miscarriage of
justice" exception recognized in Murray v.
Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 496, 106 S.Ct. 2639, 91 L.Ed.2d
397 (1986), provides that it must be shown that the alleged
constitutional violation "has probably resulted in the
conviction of one who is actually innocent . . ."
Murray, 477 U.S. at 496.
Campbell's Guilty Plea Was Knowing and
guilty plea becomes final, unless the record demonstrates the
sentencing court lacked the power to enter the conviction or
impose the sentence, a petitioner may only challenge the
knowing, voluntary nature of the plea. United States v.
Broce, 488 U.S. 563, 569, 109 S.Ct. 757, 102 L.Ed.2d 927
(1989). In conducting its analysis, the Court starts with the
proposition that a trial court may not accept a guilty plea
without an affirmative showing on the record that the plea
was intelligent and voluntary. Boykin v. Alabama,
395 U.S. 238, 242-43, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969).
For a guilty plea to be made knowingly and voluntarily, the
court accepting the guilty plea must "specifically
address three 'core principles,' ensuring that a
defendant (1) enters his guilty plea free from coercion, (2)
understands the nature of the charges, and (3) understands
the consequences of his plea." United States v.
Moriarty, 429 F.3d 1012, 1019 (11th Cir. 2005) (per
curiam) (citations omitted). In addition, "a defendant
who seeks reversal of his conviction after a guilty plea . .
. must show a reasonable probability that, but for the error
[under Rule 11 of the court accepting the guilty plea], he
would not have entered the plea.” Id. at 1020
(quoting United States v. Dominguez Benitez, 542
U.S. 74, 83, 124 S.Ct. 2333, 159 L.Ed.2d 157 (2004)).
is a strong presumption that statements made during the plea
colloquy are true. United States v. Medlock, 12 F.3d
185, 187 (11th Cir. 1994). The defendant bears a “heavy
burden” to show that his statements under oath were
false. United States v. Rogers, 848 F.2d 166, 168
(11th Cir. 1988). The representations of a defendant as well
as any findings by a judge accepting a plea constitute a
formidable barrier in any subsequent collateral proceeding.
Thompson v. Wainwright, 787 F.2d 1447, 1460 (11th
noted supra, Campbell claims that because of his
limited eighth grade education, reading difficulties, and low
intelligence, he was not competent to enter the guilty plea;
thus, his plea was not knowing and voluntary. However, the
transcript from the guilty plea hearing belies Campbell's
claim. (Doc. 171). At the guilty plea hearing, Campbell
denied that he had received any recent mental health
treatment, and further denied that he was under the influence
of any medication, alcohol, or drugs. He testified, without
hesitation, that he had received a copy of the charges
against him, that he had discussed them with his attorney,
that he understood the charges, and that he was fully
satisfied with the representation and advice he had received
from his counsel. The hearing transcript further reflects
that Judge Granade informed Campbell of the charges to which
he was pleading guilty, as well as the penalties that might
be imposed in the event of his conviction.
questioning from the Court, Campbell advised that he had
completed the eighth grade, and that because he had
difficulty reading, his attorney had read the plea agreement
and factual resume to him. Campbell testified that he
understood the charges to which he was pleading and the
penalties that could be imposed if he was convicted, and he
acknowledged that the Government could prove the facts set
forth in the factual resume to support his conviction.
hearing transcript also reflects that Judge Granade provided
Campbell a detailed explanation of the rights he would
forfeit by pleading guilty, and he confirmed that he
understood his decision to plead guilty would result in a
waiver of these rights. Campbell also testified that no one
had made him any promises other than those contained in the
plea agreement, and his decision to plead guilty was not the
result of force, threats, or pressure, but that he was
pleading guilty of his own free will because he was guilty.
on the thorough plea colloquy, during which Judge Granade was
able to make firsthand observations of Campbell's
responses, demeanor and behavior, she concluded that he was
fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea,
that he was aware of the nature of the charges and the
consequences of the plea and that his plea of guilty was a
knowing and voluntary plea supported by an independent basis
in fact containing each of the essential elements of the
offenses. (Doc. 171 at 13). Accordingly, Campbell's plea
was accepted and he was adjudged guilty of Counts 1, 4 and 7.
this backdrop, Campbell has proffered nothing aside from his
conclusory assertions in support of his claim that he was not
competent and, therefore, his guilty plea was not knowing and
voluntary. Independent review of the thorough Rule 11 plea
colloquy confirms that Campbell's guilty plea was free
from coercion, and that he understood the nature of the
charges, and the consequences of his plea. See United
States v. Stitzer, 785 F.2d 1506, 1514 n.4 (11th Cir.
1986) (noting that "if the Rule 11 plea-taking procedure
is careful and detailed, the defendant will not later be
heard to contend that he swore falsely."). Simply put,
the record is devoid of any evidence that suggests that any
condition, mental or otherwise, impaired Campbell's
ability to participate in the guilty plea hearing.
Accordingly, this claim is without merit.
No Competency ...