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Guyton v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Jasper Division

July 29, 2019

KENNETH J. GUYTON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

          L. SCOTT COOGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Petitioner Kenneth J. Guyton (“Guyton”) has filed with the Clerk of this Court a motion to vacate, set aside or otherwise correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, as well as a brief in support thereof. (Docs. 1 & 2.) The Government has responded in opposition to his motion. (Doc. 6.) Guyton then filed what he styled a “Motion for Summary Judgment” in further support of his claims. (Doc. 7.) For the reasons set forth below, the § 2255 motion is due to be denied and this action dismissed without an evidentiary hearing.[1]

         II. Background

         On January 6, 2016, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), working with investigators from Alabama's 24th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, conducted a controlled purchase of drugs from Guyton and co-defendant Joel Tucker (“Tucker”). A cooperating witness spoke with Tucker over the phone and agreed to meet at a residence in Fayette County, Alabama, to conduct the purchase. Tucker and Guyton arrived at the residence. Guyton carried a shotgun into the residence, and the three discussed the sale of methamphetamine. Tucker and Guyton provided the witness with approximately six grams of methamphetamine and the shotgun in exchange for $380 in cash. Tucker and Guyton discussed providing the witness with additional drugs later so that Guyton could reclaim the shotgun.[2]

         On January 25, 2017, Guyton was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), as well as 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count One); one count of aiding and abetting in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Count Two); one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count Three); and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count Four).

         Guyton pled guilty pursuant to a written, signed, plea agreement on June 8, 2017. He pled guilty to Counts One, Three, and Four, and the Government agreed to dismiss Count Two.

         On November 2, 2017, Guyton was sentenced to 77 months' imprisonment as to Counts One and Three, separately, to run concurrently with each other, and consecutive to 60 months imprisonment as to Count Four, for a total term of imprisonment of 137 months. Judgment was entered on November 3, 2017. Guyton did not appeal.

         On November 10, 2018, Guyton signed his § 2255 motion, which was filed into the record six days later.[3]

         Guyton remains in custody.

         III. Timeliness and Non-Successiveness of the § 2255 Motion

         Since judgment on Guyton's conviction was issued on November 3, 2017, Guyton had 14 days, or until November 17, 2017, to file an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1)(A). When that date passed without a notice of appeal from Guyton, his conviction became final for purposes of the instant § 2255 motion. See Mederos v. United States, 218 F.3d 1252, 1253 (11th Cir. 2000). Because Guyton filed this § 2255 motion within one year of the date upon which his conviction became final, the motion is timely. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (f)(1). This is also Guyton's first § 2255 motion, so it is not “second or successive” within the meaning of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). See Id. at §§ 2255(h), 2244(b)(3)(A).

         IV. Standard of Review

         Because collateral review is not a substitute for direct appeal, the grounds for collateral attack on final judgments pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are extremely 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 ...


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