United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division
Valencia Mack, Petitioner, Pro se, Danbury, CT.
D. Quarles, Jr., United States District Judge.
Mack was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or
more of cocaine hydrochloride and 50 grams or more of cocaine
base. The Court sentenced Mack to 240 months imprisonment and
ten years supervised release. Pending is Mack's
supplemental motion to vacate under §
2255. On August 26, 2015, the Court held a
hearing on Mack's claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel. For the following reasons, Macks's supplemental
motion will be granted.
24, 2008, a federal grand jury returned an indictment
Mack with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of
cocaine hydrochloride and 50 grams or more of cocaine base
between January 2008 until March 2008. ECF No. 1. On
February 4, 2011, the Government filed a notice of enhanced
penalty under 21 U.S.C. § 851 which increased the
mandatory minimum sentence for the offense from ten years to
twenty years without the possibility of parole. ECF No. 222.
On February 17, 2011, a jury found Tanya Mack guilty. ECF No.
242. On June 28, 2011, the Court sentenced Mack to 240 months
imprisonment and ten years supervised release. ECF No. 253.
29, 2013, Mack, pro se, filed a motion to vacate her
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 280. Mack
argued that her sentence violated Alleyne v. United
States, 133 S.Ct. 2151, 186 L.Ed.2d 314 (2013), because
the jury never found the exact amount of drugs attributable
to Mack. ECF No. 280 at 3. The Government argued that the
verdict sheet contained factual findings by the jury about
the amount of drugs attributable to Mack, and that her
sentence was in accordance with the sentencing enhancement
under 21 U.S.C. § 851. ECF No. 282 at 34. Contrary to
Mack's argument, the Court determined that the indictment
charged her with conspiring to distribute a specific amount
of drugs (500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and 50
grams or more of cocaine base). ECF Nos. 79, 311. Further,
the jury verdict sheet contains factual findings from the
jury that she was guilty of conspiring to distribute these
amounts. ECF Nos. 242, 311. Accordingly, on March 24, 2014,
the Court found that there was no merit to Mack's
original argument. ECF No. 311.
in Mack's reply to the Government's opposition, she
stated that she had been unaware of the § 851
enhancement, and, if the enhancement had been communicated to
her prior to trial, she would have considered a guilty plea.
ECF No. 282 at 1-2. The Court interpreted this statement as a
new claim for relief based on ineffective assistance of
counsel. See ECF No. 311. The Court ordered
appointment of counsel under the Criminal Justice Act and a
hearing was scheduled to determine if counsel failed to
communicate the § 851 enhancement. ECF Nos. 311, 314.
7, 2015, Mack's counsel filed a supplemental motion to
vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 313. On August
10, 2015, the Court ordered the government to respond to the
supplemental motion. ECF No. 316. On August 17, 2015, the
government opposed the motion. ECF No. 317. On August 18,
2015, Mack replied. ECF No. 318.
August 26, 2015, the Court held a hearing on the § 2255
claims. At the hearing, Mack withdrew her
argument that her trial counsel was ineffective for failing
to communicate the § 851 enhancement. Mack, however,
called prior counsel, William
Welch, Esq., to testify on the issues in the supplemental