United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING § 2255
J. Garbis, United States District Judge
Court has before it Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside, or Correct Sentence [ECF Nos. 299 & 300]. The
Court has held a hearing including the presentation of
evidence. The Court has made its factual findings based upon
its evaluation of the evidence and the reasonable inferences
1, 2009, Defendant Elliott Brown (“Petitioner”)
was convicted by Judge Quarles on a plea of guilty to one
Count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C.
9, 2009, Petitioner, by trial counsel,  filed a Motion to
Withdraw Guilty Plea [ECF No. 178] and, on March 12, 2010,
filed pro se a supplemental motion seeking to
withdraw the guilty plea [ECF No. 250]. On March 17, 2010,
Judge Quarles appointed Richard Bardos, Esquire who
represented Petitioner through sentencing and appeal. On July
29, 2010, Judge Quarles denied Petitioner leave to withdraw
the guilty plea. See Memorandum Opinion [ECF No.
265] filed July 30, 2010.
sentencing, on July 29, 2010, Judge Quarles found that
Petitioner's Offense Level was 36 and Criminal History
Category was VI, yielding a Guidelines Range of 324 to 405
months. Petitioner was sentenced to 360 months of
incarceration. Judgement was entered on July 30, 2010. [ECF
August 3, 2010, Petitioner appealed to the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. [ECF No. 272]. On
June 16, 2011, the appellate court issued its Judgment
affirming the conviction and sentence. [ECF No. 288]. On
September 14, 2011, (90 days after June 16) the time for
Petitioner to seek a writ of certiorari expired. Therefore,
the deadline for filing a § 2255 motion was September
14, 2012. On that date, Petitioner filed pro se
documents deemed to constitute a timely § 2255 motion.
[ECF Nos. 299 & 300].
20, 2014, Judge Quarles appointed Mary Davis, Esquire to
represent Petitioner. [ECF No. 341].
January 29, 2016, the instant case was reassigned to the
January 11, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the instant
asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of
counsel due to counsel's failure to:
1. Communicate to him an offer of a plea agreement calling
for a 188 month sentence.
2. Adequately represent him in regard to his guilty plea,
rendering the plea involuntary.
3. Adequately represent him in regard to the district
court's finding that he was a career offender.
4. Adequately represent him in regard to the district
court's finding of responsibility for 30 kilograms of
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Standard
order to prevail on a claim that counsel's representation
violated his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of
counsel, Petitioner must show (1) "that counsel's
representation fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness, " and (2) "that there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional
errors, the result of the proceeding would have been
different." Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
668, 687-88, 694 (1984). "A reasonable probability is a
probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome
[of the proceedings]." Id. at 694.
Petitioner's Asserted Grounds
Failure to Communicate Offer
contended that trial counsel failed to communicate to him a
Government offer of a plea agreement calling for a 188 month
sentence and that, were that offer made, he would have
criminal defendant is entitled to the effective
representation of counsel in regard to plea bargaining.
Defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to counsel, a right
that extends to the plea-bargaining process. During plea
negotiations defendants are "entitled to the effective