United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
RUSS WALKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is Mequetta Snell-Quick's pro se
motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Doc.
April 6, 2015, Snell-Quick pleaded guilty under a plea
agreement to one count of conspiring to defraud the United
States with respect to claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 286, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). Snell-Quick's convictions
stemmed from her participation in a far-ranging scheme to
obtain tax refunds by filing fraudulent tax returns using
stolen identities. Her plea agreement contained a provision
by which she waived her right to appeal or collaterally
attack her conviction and sentence, with exceptions for
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial
misconduct. Doc. 3-2 at 6-7. Following a sentencing hearing
on August 7, 2015, the district court sentenced Snell-Quick
to 24 months and one day in prison, consisting of one day on
the conspiracy count and 24 months on the identity theft
count, the terms to run consecutively. Doc. 1-1 at 2.
Snell-Quick did not appeal.
August 9, 2106, Snell-Quick filed this § 2255 motion
asserting that she should receive a “minor role”
reduction to her sentence based on Amendment 794 to §
3B1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines. For the reasons that
follow, the Magistrate Judge recommends that
Snell-Quick's § 2255 motion be denied without an
evidentiary hearing and that this case be dismissed with
General Legal Standard
collateral review is not a substitute for direct appeal, the
grounds for collateral attack on final judgments under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 are limited. A prisoner may secure relief
under § 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; United States
v. Phillips, 225 F.3d 1198, 1199 (11th Cir. 2000);
United States v. Walker, 198 F.3d 811, 813 n.5 (11th
Cir. 1999). “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). The “fundamental
miscarriage of justice” exception recognized in
Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 496 (1986),
provides that it must be shown that the alleged
constitutional violation “has probably resulted in the
conviction of one who is actually innocent.”
Amendment 794 to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2
maintains she should receive a retroactive minor role
reduction to her sentence based on the November 1, 2015
amendment (Amendment 794) to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2. Doc. 1 at
4 & 12.
3B1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines provides that a
defendant's offense level should be decreased 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.