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Evans v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 22, 2017

DOLLY WADSWORTH EVANS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          JAMES C. FOX Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the court on the Government's Motion to Dismiss [DE-340] Dolly Wadsworth Evans' ("Evans") pending Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [DE-323, -328].[1] Evans' time to respond to the Government's Motion to Dismiss has elapsed, and the matter is now ripe for ruling. For the reasons addressed below, the Government's Motion to Dismiss is ALLOWED and Evans' Motions to Vacate are DENIED.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On September 16, 2014, Evans was charged in six counts of a thirteen-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. See Indictment [DE-1]. In Count One, Evans was charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, and possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See Id. Counts Five, Six, and Nine charged Evans with possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and material with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. See Id. In Count Seven, Evans was charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. See Id. Count Eight charged Evans with possession of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(c)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. See id.

         At her arraignment, held on May 11, 2015, Evans pleaded guilty to Count One pursuant to a written plea agreement [DE-193]. The Government agreed that at sentencing, it would dismiss Counts Five, Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine as to Evans only. Id. at 6. Evans' sentencing was held on November 3, 2015, and she was sentenced to 157 months' imprisonment and ten years of supervised release. See Judgment [DE-262]. Evans was ordered to pay a special assessment of $100, a fine in the amount of $5, 800.00, and restitution in the amount of $1, 955.70. See Id. Evans did not file a direct appeal.

         On November 10, 2016, Evans filed a. pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [DE-323] and then a corrected motion on December 6, 2016 [DE-328]. In her § 2255 motion, Evans presents the following claims: (1) her attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel; and (2) she is entitled to relief under Amendment 794 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. See Mot. Vacate [DE-328]. On January 13, 2017, the Government filed a Motion to Dismiss [DE-340] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that Evans has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Evans failed to respond to the Government's Motion to Dismiss.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         Evans filed the instant motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). With a § 2255 motion, the petitioner bears the burden of proving the grounds for collateral attack by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958); Hayes v. United States, Nos. 4:13CR70, 4:16CV54, 2017 WL 976624, at *2 (E.D. Va. Mar..13, 2017). When deciding a § 2255 motion, the court need not hold a hearing when "the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). When conducting the § 2255(b) review, pro se filings are held to a less stringent standard. See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978).

         B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint, not to resolve conflicts of fact or decide the merits of the action. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999). When considering a motion to dismiss, the court assumes the truth of all facts alleged in the complaint and the existence of any fact that can be proved which is consistent with the complaint's allegations. E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). However, the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" and the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Wahi v. Charleston Area Med. Or., Inc., 562 F.3d 599, 615 n.26 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). "[A] plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Moreover, a court "need not accept the legal conclusions drawn from the facts" nor "accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore Mkts., 213 F.3d at 180.

         III. ...


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