United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
16, 2008, pro se Petitioner Robert Chambers
('Petitioner" or "Chambers") pled guilty
pursuant to a plea agreement to one Count of distribution of
cocaine base in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 841. On
September 4, 2008 Judge William D. Quarles of this Court
sentenced Chambers to 180 months of imprisonment followed by
three years of supervised release. (Judgment, ECF No. 60.) On
September 11, 2008 Chambers appealed his sentence. (Notice of
Appeal, ECF No. 61.) On August 27, 2009 the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal.
(ECF Nos. 69, 70.)
imprisoned, Petitioner has periodically filed motions seeking
to vacate or otherwise amend his sentence. The motions are
styled as follows: (1) a "Motion Seeking a Reduction in
Sentencing Pursuant to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010;
Amendment # 706; Title 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)" (ECF
No; 89); (2) a "Motion under Rule 60(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and/or a Writ of Error
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651" (ECF No. 104); (3) a
"Supplemental Motion under 28 U.S.C. §
2255(f)(2-3), or Motion under 28 U.S.C § 2241 to Vacate,
Set Aside or Correct a Sentence of a Person in Federal
Custody; and/or a Writ of Error Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1651" (ECF No. 108); (4) a "Motion for Supplemental
Authority" (ECF No. 111); and (5) a "Motion to
Correct a Plain Error" (ECF No. 112.)
parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing
is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
For the foregoing reasons, Petitioner's Motion Seeking a
Reduction in Sentencing Pursuant to the Fair Sentencing Act
of 2010; Amendment # 706; Tide 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (ECF
No. 89) is DENIED; Petitioner's Motion under Rule
60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and/or a
Writ of Error Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651 (ECF No. 104)
is DENIED; Supplemental Motion under 28 U.S.C. §
2255(f)(2-3), or Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to
Vacate, Set Aside or Correct a Sentence of a Person in
Federal Custody; and/or a Writ of Error Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1651 (ECF No. 108) is DENIED; Petitioner's Motion
for Supplemental Authority (ECF No. 111) is DENIED; and
Petitioner's Motion to Correct a Plain Error (ECF No.
112) is DENIED.
13, 2008, Chambers pled guilty before Judge William D.
Quarles of this Court to distribution of crack cocaine, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 841. (ECF No. 53.) In his plea
agreement, Petitioner stipulated that he qualified as a
career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. (Plea
Agreement 3, ECF No. 54.) Prior to sentencing, the United
States Probation Office completed a presentence investigation
report ("PSR") which indicated that Chambers
qualified as a career offender under the United States
Sentencing Guidelines based on multiple felony drug
convictions and multiple convictions for violent crimes
including kidnapping, assault with intent to murder, and
armed robbery. See United States Sentencing
Guidelines Manual § 4B1.1 (U.S. Sentencing Comm'n
2007) (U.S.S.G.); (see also Sentencing Tr. 2:15-3:3,
ECF No. 65.) Taking into account his acceptance of
responsibility, the PSR recommended an adjusted offense level
of 30 and a criminal history category of VI, producing an
advisory guideline range of 168-210 months imprisonment.
the sentencing hearing, the parties presented arguments
concerning the appropriate sentence. The Government
recommended a sentence within the applicable Guideline range
of 168 to 210 months. (Id. at 3:10-19.) During the
sentencing hearing, Chambers' counsel acknowledged that
he qualified as a career offender, but sought a sentence
falling below the Guideline range based in part on his
military service and drug addiction. (Id. at
7:17-21.) Taking into account both Chambers' military
service and entire criminal history, this Court sentenced
Chambers to 180 months imprisonment followed by a three-year
term of supervised release. (Id. at 20:17-21:6;
Judgment, ECF No. 60.)
has launched a volley of challenges to his sentence. On
September 11, 2008 he appealed this Court's judgment to
the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,
and the Court dismissed the appeal. (ECF Nos. 60, 68, 69.) On
September 7, 2011, Petitioner filed a Motion for Reduction in
Sentence. (ECF No. 89.) On April 25, 2016 Petitioner filed
another motion challenging his sentence, which he styled as a
"Motion under Rule 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and/or a Writ of Error Pursuant to 28 U.S.C
§ 1651." (ECF No. 104.) On May 3, 2016, shortly
after this case was reassigned to the undersigned, this Court
issued an Order directing the Government to respond to both
Motions. (Id.) Subsequently, Chambers filed a
"Supplemental Motion" seeking relief pursuant to,
inter alia, 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 108.) On
June 23, 2016, the Government filed its Response (ECF No.
109.) The Petitioner has submitted a Reply (ECF No. 110) and
two additional Motions, styled as follows: a Motion for
Supplemental Authority (ECF No. 111) and a Motion to Correct
a Plain Error (ECF No. 112.) The Government has not filed a
Response to these latter motions.
filed pro se are "liberally construed" and
are "held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafter by lawyers." Erikson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted). As
further explained below, Petitioner seeks relief pursuant to
two statutes: 28 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and 28 U.S.C.
Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
self-styled "Motion for Reduction in Sentence" is
best construed as a Motion to Reduce Sentence Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). (See Pet. Mot. for
Reduction in Sentence 4, ECF No. 89 ("At issue here is
whether § 3582(c)(2) permits a reduction in the
petitioner's sentence . . .")) 28 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(2) presents an exception to the general rule that a
court "may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has
been imposed." United States v. Martin, 916
F.3d 389, 395 (4th Or. 2019) (quoting 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c) (2018)). To determine whether to reduce a
defendant's sentence pursuant to this statute, courts
conduct a "two-step inquiry." United States v.
Peters, 843 F.3d 572, 574 (4th Cir. 2016). First, courts
must determine whether the defendant is eligible for a
sentence reduction. "Section 3582(c)(2) permits a
reduction only if (1) the defendant's 'term of
imprisonment [was] based on a sentencing range that has
subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission,'
and (2) the reduction 'is consistent with applicable
policy statements issued by the Sentencing
Commission.'" Id. (quoting §
3582(c)(2)). The applicable policy statements, which are
found in Section 1B1.10 of the Guidelines, permit sentence
reductions only when the relevant Guidelines amendment is
both retroactively applicable and has "the effect of
lowering the defendant's applicable guideline
range." U.S.S.G. § 1B 1.10(a)(2)(B). Second, having
determined that the defendant is eligible, the Court must
consider the factors set forth in Section 3553(a) "to
the extent that they are applicable." Id.
(quoting § 3582(c)(2)). Ultimately, the decision to
reduce a defendant's sentence is within this Court's
discretion. United States v. Smalls, 720 F.3d 193,
195 (4th Cir. 2013).
Motion Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
28 U.S.C. § 2255, a prisoner in custody may seek to
vacate, set aside or correct his sentence where: (1)
"the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States," (2) the
court lacked "jurisdiction to impose the sentence, ...
[(3)] the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by
law, or [(4) the sentence] is otherwise subject to a
collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). "If
the court finds .. . that the sentence imposed was not
authorized by law or otherwise open to collateral attack, or
that there has been such a denial or infringement of the
constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the
judgment vulnerable to collateral attack, the court shall
vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the
prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct
the sentence as may appear appropriate." 28 U.S.C.
scope of a § 2255 collateral attack is far narrower than
an appeal, and a '"collateral challenge may not do
service for an appeal."' Foster v. Chatman,136 S.Ct. 1737, 1758 (2016) (quoting United States v.
Frady,456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982)). Thus, procedural
default will bar consideration under § 2255 of any
matters that "could have been but were not pursued on
direct appeal, [unless] the movant. . . show[s] cause and
actual prejudice resulting from the errors of which he
complains." United States v. ...