Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Montgomery v. United States

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

October 29, 2013

LEONARD EVANT MONTGOMERY, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal Action No. RDB-10-0475

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

The pro se petitioner Leonard Evant Montgomery ("Petitioner") has filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence (ECF No. 107), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Petitioner argues that this Court improperly found him to be a career offender under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and due to this finding, he received a higher sentence than would have otherwise been imposed. Petitioner further claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to his attorney's failure to object to his career offender status. Because this Court properly calculated Petitioner's sentence, Petitioner's Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 107) is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

A. Petitioner's 2011 Sentence for Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute.

On July 19, 2010, Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") agents observed two individuals named James Knowlton ("Knowlton") and Lucy Cabrera ("Cabrera") arrive at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport from San Diego, California. Plea Agreement at 8, ECF No. 83. Both individuals then checked into a room at a Motel 6 in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Id. The agents continued to monitor the motel room, and the following day they observed a third individual, later identified as Petitioner, meeting with Knowlton inside the room. Id. After a brief meeting, Petitioner emerged from the room holding a black object. Id. The agents followed Petitioner's vehicle and conducted a stop for an unrelated traffic violation. Id. During this stop, a trained canine alerted the agents to the presence of narcotics inside Petitioner's vehicle. Id. The agents recovered black tar heroin, in excess of 200 grams, from the vehicle and arrested Petitioner. Id. Knowlton and Cabrera were arrested following Petitioner's detainment. Id.

On August 5, 2010, Petitioner was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Indictment, ECF No. 25. On October 21, 2010, Petitioner pled guilty to the conspiracy charge pursuant to a plea agreement.

On August 24, 2011, this Court sentenced Petitioner to a prison term of ninety-six months with a four-year period of supervised release. See Petr.'s Mot. to Vacate at 1, ECF No. 107. During Petitioner's sentencing, this Court determined that Petitioner was a career offender as defined by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines under Section 4B1.1.[1] Id. at 9. In making this calculation, this Court deemed that Petitioner's prior escape conviction constituted a crime of violence that counted toward Petitioner's career offender status. Ultimately, this finding qualified Petitioner for a Guideline range of 100 to 125 months of incarceration, as opposed to a forty-six to fifty-seven month range. See Gov.'s Resp. at 3, ECF No. 110. After determining that Petitioner was a career offender, this Court sentenced Petitioner to a period of incarceration that was four months below the minimum recommended sentence under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Id.

On July 11, 2012, Petitioner filed the pending Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF No. 107). In his Motion, Petitioner asserts that this Court improperly considered the escape conviction when determining that Petitioner qualified as a career offender under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. See Petr.'s Mot. 9. Petitioner also claims that his counsel acted ineffectively because counsel failed to object to the characterization of his escape conviction as a crime of violence. See id. On September 28, 2012, the Government filed its Response to Petitioner's Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 110). Petitioner submitted his Reply (ECF No. 115) on October 22, 2012.

B. Petitioner's 2001 Escape Conviction.

Because Petitioner challenges whether his escape conviction[2] qualifies as a predicate for career offender status, this Court also includes the following facts related to that conviction. In September 1997, Petitioner started serving a ten-year prison sentence for distribution of controlled substances. Ct. Tr., Feb. 2, 2001 at 7, ECF No. 110-2. He was housed at the Herman Tolson Boot Camp, which offers prisoners the opportunity to study at a local community college. Id. Petitioner enrolled in a fiber optics course. Id.

On October 13, 2000, Petitioner escaped during the middle of a class session. Ct. Tr., Feb. 2, 2001 at 7, ECF No. 110-2. Law enforcement officers located Petitioner running across East Furnace Branch Road in Glen Burnie, MD. Id. A law enforcement officer ordered Petitioner to stop; however, Petitioner continued to flee on foot. Id. at 7-8. Additional police officers arrived on the scene to set up a perimeter. Id. at 8. Law enforcement officers also utilized air support and canine units. Id. After locating Petitioner within the vicinity, law enforcement officers ordered Petitioner to stop running, but Petitioner hid underneath a bush. Id. Petitioner refused to emerge from the underneath the bush. Id. At this time, law enforcement officers released canine units to subdue and apprehend the Petitioner. Id. On February 2, 2001, Petitioner entered a guilty plea for escape under Article 27, Section 139(a) of the Maryland Code. Id. at 3-7.

ANALYSIS

I. Petitioner's Escape Conviction as a Predicate Felony Under Section 4B1.1 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Petitioner argues that he does not qualify as a career offender under Section 4B1.1 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and that he received a higher sentence because of his improper career offender status. Under Section 4B1.1, a defendant is considered a career offender if he is convicted of a serious drug offense or a crime of violence and has two prior such convictions on his record. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. A crime of violence includes "any offense under federal or state law, punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" that "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another or is burglary of a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.