United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRAMLETTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on defendant/petitioner Wendell
Taylor's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate,
Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody
(Docket Entry 22 in cause no. 3:08-cr-12).
After conducting the preliminary review required by Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United
States Courts, the Court found that the Government should be
required to “file an answer, motion or other
response” as required by Rule 4. (Docket Entry 23).
Government filed a Motion to Dismiss (Docket Entry
24), moving to dismiss the petitioner's §
2255 motion on grounds that Taylor expressly waived his right
to bring such a motion.
February 5, 2008, a federal grand jury returned an indictment
charging Taylor with being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and
§ 924(e). (Docket Entry 1). Taylor pled guilty, and on
February 3, 2009, the Court sentenced him to 151 months in
prison followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
(Minute Entry of 02/03/2009). On February 11, 2016, Taylor
filed the instant § 2255 motion seeking collateral
review of his 2009 sentence. (Docket Entry 22). Specifically,
Taylor seeks to reopen his case for further sentencing
proceedings in light of Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). However, Taylor specifically waived
his right to attack his sentence when he signed a plea
agreement. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
11(c), Taylor entered a guilty plea predicated on his signed
plea agreement. (Minute Entry of 10/07/08). Taylor's plea
and the plea agreement were accepted by the Court.
Id. In his written plea agreement, entered into with
the advice of counsel, Taylor specifically waived his right to
attack his sentence. Paragraphs 13 and 13(b) of the plea
agreement evidence such:
Defendant, knowing and understanding all of the matters
aforesaid, including the maximum possible penalty that could
be imposed, and being advised of his rights to remain silent,
to trial by jury, to subpoena witnesses on his own behalf, to
confront the witnesses against him, and to appeal the
conviction and sentence, in exchange for the recommendations
and concessions made by the U.S. Attorney's Office in
this plea agreement hereby expressly waives the above rights
and the following rights:
The right to contest the conviction and sentence or
the manner in which the sentence was imposed in any
post-conviction proceeding, including but not limited to
a motion brought under Title 28, United States Code,
Section 2255 ....
(Minute Entry of 10/07/08, Plea Agreement ¶¶ 13,
13(b)(emphasis added). When Taylor signed his plea agreement,
he expressly waived his right to appeal his conviction and
his sentence in any post-conviction proceedings. Furthermore,
the Court accepted Taylor's guilty plea, entered a
judgment of conviction, and sentenced Taylor. (Minute Entry
having waived his right to attack his sentence through a
§ 2255 motion, Taylor filed the instant Motion pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket Entry 22).
a general rule, a voluntary, unconditional guilty plea waives
all nonjurisdictional defects in the proceedings against the
defendant.” United States v. Hoctel, 154 F.3d
506, 507 (5th Cir. 1998). In addition to the
general waiver resulting from a defendant's unconditional
guilty plea, a defendant may agree to surrender his right to
contest his sentencing as part of a plea agreement with the
Government. Id. at 508.
have long enforced waivers of collateral-attack rights in
plea agreements. See, e.g., United
States v. Wilkes, 20 F.3d 651, 653 (5th Cir.
1994)(“As a general matter, therefore - and at least
under the facts and circumstances of this case - an informed
and voluntary waiver of post-conviction relief is effective
to bar such relief.”); see also Garcia-Santos v.
United States, 273 F.3d 506, 509 (2nd Cir.
2001). This is true even where the grounds for the attack
arise after the plea agreement is executed. See
Garcia-Santos, 273 F.3d at 509 (providing prudential and
date, the Fifth Circuit has recognized two exceptions to this
general rule: (1) a claim of ineffective assistance if
“the claimed ineffective assistance directly affected
the validity of that waiver or the plea itself” and (2)
a sentencing claim where the sentence “exceeds the
statutory maximum” penalty. See United States v.
Hollins, 97 Fed.App'x 477, 479 (5th Cir.
2004). Neither exception applies to Taylor. Taylor's
§ 2255 motion sets forth no allegations of ineffective
counsel or that any ineffectiveness invalidated his guilty
plea. Furthermore, Taylor cannot claim that his 151 month
sentence exceeds the statutory maximum penalty.
to the U.S. Probation Office's Presentence Investigation
Report (“PSIR”), the minimum term of imprisonment
is 15 years and the maximum term is life, pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 924(e). (Docket Entry 18, ¶ 92).
Additionally, pursuant to U.S.S.G. Chapter 5, Part A, based
on a total offense level of 30 and a criminal history
category of V, the guideline imprisonment range is 151 to 188
months; but due to the statutory minimum, the guideline range
becomes 180 to 188 months. (Id., ¶ 93). For
reasons stated at Taylor's sentencing on February 4,
2009, the Court sentenced Taylor to serve 151 months in
prison, clearly not exceeding the statutory maximum penalty.
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the
Supreme Court has held that Johnson-style analysis
does not apply to cases involving the residual clause
definition of a “crime of violence” in U.S.S.G.
§ 41B.2(a)(2), nor would it apply to U.S.S.G. §
2L1.2. See Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886
Taylor's arguments are predicated exclusively on alleged
errors in guidelines calculations, errors which he agreed not
to raise in an appeal or in a collateral attack of his
sentence. Because Taylor voluntarily waived his right to