United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John Eric Wakefield (“Wakefield”) is before the
court on a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Civ. Doc.
October 29, 2014, Wakefield pled guilty under a plea
agreement to aiding and abetting the possession with intent
to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, and possession of a
firearm to further a drug trafficking crime, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). See Crim. Doc. 123. On
November 23, 2015, the district court sentenced Wakefield to
180 months in prison, consisting of 120 months for the drug
count and a consecutive term of 60 months for the firearm
count. See Crim. Doc. 293. Judgment was entered by
the district court on December 7, 2015. Crim. Doc. 306.
Wakefield did not appeal his convictions or sentence.
February 8, 2017, the Government filed a motion for reduction
in sentence under Rule 35(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure in which it requested that Wakefield's sentence
on the drug count be reduced by 12 months based on the
substantial assistance that Wakefield had provided to the
Government. See Crim. Doc. 456. On April 12, 2017,
the district court granted the Government's Rule 35(b)
motion and ordered Wakefield's sentence on the drug count
reduced by 12 months, so that Wakefield's overall
sentence became 168 months in prison, consisting of 108
months for the drug count and a consecutive term of 60 months
for the firearm count. Crim. Doc. 471.
October 10, 2017, Wakefield, acting pro se, filed
the instant § 2255 motion presenting claims that (1) his
trial counsel induced him to plead guilty using “the
ruse of a ‘significant reduction' in Mr.
Wakefield's sentence in exchange for ‘substantial
assistance' to the government”; (2) his guilty plea
was not entered knowingly and voluntarily; and (3) his trial
counsel failed to investigate the charges and facts of the
case, resulting in his pleading guilty when he otherwise
would not have done so. Civ. Doc. 1 at 4-8.
Government filed a response to Wakefield's § 2255
motion in which it argued, among other things, that the
motion was time-barred under AEDPA's one-year limitation
period. Civ. Doc. 4. Wakefield was allowed to reply to the
Government's response and to show cause why his §
2255 motion should not be dismissed on grounds of
untimeliness. See Civ. Docs. 5 & 6.
reasons that follow, it is recommended that Wakefield's
§ 2255 motion be denied without an evidentiary hearing
and that this case be dismissed with prejudice.
1996, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), which established a
one-year limitation period for filing a motion under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. In pertinent part, AEDPA amended §
2255 to provide:
A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under
this section. The limitation period shall run from the latest
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion
created by governmental action in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the
movant was prevented from making a motion by such
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially
recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly
recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively