United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
Richard L. Voorhees United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner Roderick
Lamar Williams's pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or
Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. No.
1), and “Motion to Supplement Pursuant to Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, Rule 15” (Doc. No. 7). Also before
the Court is the Government's Motion to Dismiss
Williams's § 2255 Motion to Vacate. (Doc. No. 9.)
was indicted on June 29, 2004, and charged with conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute powder and crack cocaine
(Count One), 21 U.S.C. § 846; possession with intent to
distribute cocaine (Count Six), 21 U.S.C. § 841; and two
counts of possession of a firearm during and in relation to a
drug-trafficking offense (Counts Seven and Nine), 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c). Fourth Superseding Indict., Doc. No.
A jury convicted Williams on all counts. Verdict, Doc. 364.
Williams's presentence report (“PSR”), the
probation officer grouped Counts One and Six under United
States Sentencing Guideline (“U.S.S.G.”) §
3D1.2(d), and calculated a base offense level of 38 for those
two counts, based on a drug quantity of more than 1.5
kilograms of crack cocaine, U.S.S.G. §2D1.1. PSR, Doc.
908 ¶¶ 52-53 (applying the 2004 U.S.S.G. Manual).
The probation officer then applied the cross-reference to the
murder guideline, U.S.S.G. § 2A1.1, because a victim was
killed as part of Williams's offense conduct.
Id. at ¶ 55. This cross-reference resulted in
an adjusted offense level of 43. Id. at ¶ 59.
to the PSR, Williams also qualified as a career offender
under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, based on his prior convictions
for assault on a government official. PSR, Doc. No. 908
¶ 60. The highest offense level provided under §
4B1.1, however, is 37. See U.S.S.G. 4B1.1(b).
Because the murder offense level was higher (43), the
probation officer applied it, rather than the career offender
guideline, to calculate Williams's sentencing guideline
range. PSR, ¶ 60.
on a total offense level of 43 and a criminal-history
category of VI, the probation officer calculated a guidelines
term of life in prison for Counts One and Six. Id.
at ¶ 119. Additionally, Williams faced a mandatory
consecutive term of not less than five years in prison for
the first § 924(c) firearm offense (Count Seven) and a
consecutive term of not less than 25 years in prison for the
second § 924(c) offense (Count Nine). Id.
Court sentenced Williams to concurrent life terms on the
drug-trafficking counts, to a consecutive term of five years
in prison for Count Seven and a consecutive term of 25 years
in prison for Count Nine. Judgment, Doc. 641. Williams's
judgment was affirmed on appeal. United States v.
Williams, 225 F. App'x 151 (4th Cir. 2007)
filed a timely motion to vacate, which this Court dismissed
and denied on October 9, 2012. Order, Williams v. United
States, No. 5:08-cv-00041-RLV (W.D.N.C Oct. 9. 2012),
Doc. No. 55. Williams subsequently filed several unauthorized
successive motions to vacate, all of which were
23, 2016, Williams sought authorization to file a successive
motion to vacate in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals,
contending that under the Supreme Court's decision in
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015),
made retroactive to cases on collateral review, Welch v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), he no longer
qualifies as a career offender under the federal sentencing
guidelines and his life-sentences for Counts One and Six,
therefore, violate the Due Process Clause. (Pet'r's
§§ 2244, 2255(h) Mot. 4, Doc. No. 2-1.) The Fourth
Circuit granted Williams's motion and authorized him to
file a successive § 2255 motion based on
Johnson. (4th Cir. Order, Doc. No. 2.)
filed the instant § 2255 Motion to Vacate, raising the
same claim as he had in the Fourth Circuit. (Pet. 4, Doc. No.
1.) The Court ordered the Government to respond (Doc. No. 5),
but before it could do so, Williams filed a motion to
supplement his § 2255 Motion to Vacate (Doc. No. 7).
Thereafter, the Court ordered the Government to address the
timeliness of Williams's motion to supplement in its
response to Williams's Motion to Vacate. (Doc. No. 8.)
Government subsequently filed a motion to dismiss
Williams's Motion to Vacate. (Doc. No. 9.) Pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
the Court gave Williams the opportunity to respond to the
Government's motion (Doc. No. 10), and Williams did so on
January 9, 2017 (Doc. No. 11).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
the dismissal of an action based upon a “failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To state a viable claim for relief
under § 2255, a petitioner must prove that: (1) the
sentence imposed “violat[ed] . . . the Constitution or
laws of the United States;” (2) “the court was
without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence;” or (3)
“the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized
by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack.”
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). After examining the record in this
matter, the Court finds that ...