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Johnson v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 8, 2017

DARRELL JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Ellen Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.

         On May 23, 2013, Petitioner Darrell Johnson, a/k/a/ Richard Morris, III, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count One), and possession with intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count Two). See ECF 1. Petitioner entered a plea of guilty on September 25, 2013, to Count One of the Indictment (ECF 38), pursuant to a Plea Agreement. See ECF 39; see also ECF 88. Sentencing was held on February 12, 2015. ECF 64. Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., to whom the case was then assigned, sentenced Johnson to a term of 48 months imprisonment. Id. Judgment was entered on February 18, 2015. ECF 65.[1] Petitioner did not note an appeal.

         On June 6, 2016, Johnson filed a Motion to Vacate, Set aside, or Correct his sentence (“Petition”), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF 71. The government opposes the Petition (ECF 86) and has submitted exhibits. See ECF 88; ECF 89; ECF 90. No reply has been docketed.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b), a hearing is required “[u]nless the motion and the files and the records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief....” This is such a case; no hearing is necessary. For the reasons that follow, I shall deny the Petition.

         I. Factual Background

         The Plea Agreement contains a Statement of Facts (ECF 39, ¶ 6(a); ECF 88 ¶ 6(a)), to which Petitioner agreed. See ECF 39 at 8; ECF 88 at 8. The facts were also set forth on the record at Petitioner's Rule 11 guilty plea proceeding. See ECF 89 at 12-13. And, while under oath, Johnson agreed to these facts. Id. at 14. They are as follows:

Beginning sometime in 2012 and continuing through January 14, 2013 and after, the Defendant, Richard Morris [a/k/a Darrell Johnson], conspired with others, including, but not limited to William Barnett and Jermel Davis, to obtain quantities of heroin and cocaine from sources in North Carolina. These sources were related to Jermel Davis and provided wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin to Davis, Barnett, and the Defendant. Davis, Barnett, and the Defendant would travel to North Carolina and return with the wholesale quantities of heroin and cocaine, which would be converted by them (Barnett, Davis or the Defendant) into cocaine base, for street level distribution in Baltimore, Maryland. During the period of the conspiracy, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) utilized wire and electronic interception of William Barnett's cellular phone. During intercepted conversation [sic], the Defendant was intercepted speaking with Barnett and discussing the quality of the drugs provided and the distribution of both wholesale and street level quantities of the drugs. On January 14, 2013, based on conversations intercepted, pursuant to those wires, the DEA believed that Davis, Barnett, and the Defendant would be returning from North Carolina with a fresh supply of drugs. The DEA notified the Maryland State Police, who executed a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Barnett and occupied by Davis and the Defendant. A canine gave a positive alert from the presence of drugs in the vehicle. The vehicle was searched and found to contain at least 500 grams of cocaine.

         The Government's evidence consists of, among other things, the testimony of cooperating witnesses, seizures of narcotics, narcotics paraphernalia and other evidence pursuant to search warrants and electronic surveillance, including the monitoring of telephone conversations occurring over the Defendant's and others' cellular telephones.

         The following colloquy at Petitioner's guilty plea proceeding is also relevant, ECF 89 at 6:

THE COURT: At the time of this offense that you're pleading guilty to, were you on parole or probation?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Which was it: Parole, or probation?
THE DEFENDANT: Both.
THE COURT: You should realize, by pleading guilty this afternoon, you may be admitting a violation of parole. You also may be admitting a violation of probation. This proceeding is not going to fix those problems if, in fact, they are problems. You're going to have to take that matter up with the Parole Commission or with the Judge who has you on probation. Do you understand that, sir?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

         Additional facts are included in the Discussion.

         II.28 ...


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