United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
Jackson, Petitioner, has filed a “Motion To Vacate, Set
Aside, And Correct A Sentence, ” pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. (“Petition, ” ECF 390). The
government has filed an opposition. ECF 398. No. reply was
filed, and the time to reply has expired.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Petition. For the reasons
that follow, I shall deny the Petition.
Factual and Procedural Background
jury in the District of Maryland returned a twelve-count
Superseding Indictment on May 31, 2017 (ECF 4), naming twelve
defendants. It included three counts against Latasha Jackson.
In particular, Jackson was charged in Count One with
conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute heroin and 28 grams or more of cocaine base, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. In Count Four, Jackson was
charged with distribution of heroin and cocaine base, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a). Count Eight charged
Jackson with distribution of heroin, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a).
October 5, 2017, Jackson appeared before the Honorable J.
Frederick Motz and entered a plea of guilty to Count One of
the Superseding Indictment. ECF 148; ECF 150 (Plea
Agreement). As part of the Plea Agreement, Jackson
stipulated to a two-level increase to her base offense level
because a firearm was possessed as part of the conspiracy.
ECF 150, ¶ 6(b); see U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b).
6(a) of the Plea Agreement contains the stipulation of facts.
Jackson agreed, inter alia, that during the
narcotics conspiracy, “law enforcement seized a firearm
from one of the Defendants' co-conspirators.” ECF
150 at 4, ¶ 6(a). Jackson also agreed that, in
furtherance of the conspiracy, she sold crack cocaine to an
undercover agent on April 28, 2017, and sold heroin to an
undercover agent on May 8, 2017. Id.
the plea was entered pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P.
11(c)(1)(C). ECF 150, ¶ 9. Pursuant to the terms of the
C plea, the parties stipulated to a sentence of 72
months' imprisonment as the appropriate disposition of
the case. Id. Moreover, Jackson expressly waived her
right to appeal, subject to the reservation of the right to
appeal a sentence of more than 72 months. Id. at 6,
was held on December 7, 2017. ECF 192. By that time, the case
had been reassigned to me.
to the original Presentence Report (ECF 182), the defendant
qualified as a career offender. Id. ¶¶ 22,
40. It is not clear whether the parties anticipated that
finding. But, it was not mentioned in the Plea Agreement.
See ECF 150, ¶ 6(b). In any event, I rejected
it. Therefore, an Amended Presentence Report was prepared
(ECF 194), which reflected a final offense level of 23
(id. ¶ 25) and a criminal history category of
III. Id. ¶ 39.
advisory sentencing guidelines range called for a period of
incarceration of 57 to 71 months. Id. ¶ 94.
However, based on the mandatory minimum term of 60 months,
the guideline range was adjusted to 60 to 71 months.
Id.; see U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(c)(2).
I rejected the C plea of 72 months' imprisonment as too
harsh. Instead, I sentenced Jackson to a term of imprisonment
of 60 months. ECF 195 (Judgment). Of import here, the
five-year sentence corresponded to the congressionally
mandated minimum term of imprisonment of five years.
See ECF 150 at 2, ¶ 3; see also 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(B). As the government puts it,
“This was the lowest possible sentence that Jackson
could have received because it was the statutory minimum for
Count One.” ECF 398 at 2.
the government dismissed Count Four and Count Eight of the
Superseding Indictment. Neither Jackson nor the government
noted an appeal.