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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

November 15, 2019

ALVIN JAKELYN WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          AMENDED ORDER

          ROBERT J. CONRAD, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner's pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 1).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Criminal Complaint in Petitioner's case charges conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 280 grams of cocaine base. (3:14-cr-217, Doc. No. 1). He was charged by Bill of Information with two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a), (b)(1)(C). (Id., Doc. No. 13). Petitioner signed written Waivers of Preliminary Hearing, (Id., Doc. No. 7), Speedy Trial, (Id., Doc. No. 11-1), and Indictment by a Grand Jury, (Id., Doc. Nos. 11-1, 19).

         The Government filed an Information Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851 informing Petitioner of its intent to pursue an enhanced sentence based on a prior North Carolina conviction for possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. (Id., Doc. No. 14).

         Petitioner pled guilty to both counts in exchange for charging concessions by the Government. See (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 1). In a written Plea Agreement, Petitioner acknowledged that each of the charges ordinarily carries a sentence of not more than 20 years' imprisonment and three years of supervised release, but that he faces up to 30 years' imprisonment and six years of supervised release pursuant to a valid § 851 enhancement:

In this case, the Government has filed information regarding one or more prior felony drug convictions pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 851. The Defendant stipulates, agrees, and affirms that the conviction referenced in that information is a valid predicate prior felony conviction under 21 U.S.C. 851, and that the Defendant has no challenge to the same. Thus, Defendant is facing a mandatory statutory sentence of no more than thirty (30) years for Counts One and Two.

(Id., Doc. No. 16 at 2) (emphasis added).

         The Government agreed to withdraw the § 851 enhancement if Petitioner was found to be a career offender pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.1. (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 2).

         Petitioner acknowledged that the advisory Sentencing Guidelines apply to determine the sentence, that the sentence had not yet been determined, that “any estimate of the likely sentence is a prediction rather than a promise, ” and that the Court would not be bound by any of the parties' recommendations or agreements. (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 2). The parties agreed to jointly recommend, inter alia, a finding that “the total amount of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”) that was known or reasonably foreseeable by the Defendant was at least twenty-eight (28) grams but less than one hundred and twelve (112) grams.” (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 2).

         In the Plea Agreement, Petitioner acknowledged the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty including the right to be tried by a jury, to be assisted by an attorney at trial, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and not to be compelled to incriminate himself (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 5). Petitioner specifically agreed to waive his appellate and post-conviction rights except for claims of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. (Id., Doc. No. 16 at 5).

         In the Plea Agreement, Petitioner stipulated that he read and understood the Factual Basis attached to the Plea Agreement that provides:

On or about December 23, 2013, … Defendant Alvin Jakelyn WILLIAMS sold approximately 8 grams of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”) to a confidential informant (“CI”) under law enforcement supervision. The transaction was recorded.
On or about January 8, 2014, … Defendant WILLIAMS sold approximately 20 grams of cocaine base and 5 grams of other cocaine to the CI under law enforcement supervision. The transaction was recorded.

(Id., Doc. No. 15 at 1) (emphasis added).

         Petitioner agreed that the Factual Basis “may be used by the Court and the United States Probation Office without objection by [Petitioner] to determine the applicable advisory guideline range or the appropriate sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), unless the Factual Basis itself notes that Defendant's right to object to a particular fact(s) was explicitly ...


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