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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

October 11, 2018

ANDREW MILTON WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court is petitioner Andrew Milton Williams's pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence by a person in federal custody. Doc. # 1.[1] After considering the parties' submissions, the record, and the applicable law, the court finds that Williams's § 2255 motion should be denied without an evidentiary hearing. Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings in the United States District Courts.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On May 23, 2013, Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Doc. # 6-4. Following a sentencing hearing on June 26, 2014, the district court sentenced Williams to 48 months in prison. Doc. # 6-9.

         Williams appealed, arguing that (1) his sentence was procedurally unreasonable because the district court based its denial of a downward departure for diminished capacity on an incorrect legal standard and a clearly erroneous fact; and (2) his sentence was substantively unreasonable because the district court relied on impermissible factors and improperly weighed the evidence of diminished capacity. Doc. # 6-12.

         On May 19, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed Williams's convictions and sentence. Doc. # 6-13; see Williams v. United States, 610 Fed.Appx. 892 (11th Cir. 2015).

         On August 15, 2016, Williams filed this § 2255 motion presenting the following claims:

1. His sentence was substantively unreasonable because the district court improperly assessed his claim seeking a downward departure for his diminished capacity that allegedly resulted from his PTSD.
2. His guilty plea was “coerced” because (a) he believed he would receive more credit than he did at sentencing for cooperating with the government; and (b) he did not understand that the district court could reject his plea agreement and sentence him to more than two years in prison.

Doc. # 1 at 4-5.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. General Standard of Review

         Because 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 is entitled to 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).

         B. Claim Raised and ...


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