United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER DENYING § 2255 MOTION AND
DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
F. COX, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Criminal Case Number 11-CR-20180, Tranier Wylon Alexander
(“Petitioner”) pleaded guilty, pursuant to a Rule
11 agreement, to one count of conspiracy to possess with
intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances
within a school zone and to use a drug-involved premises.
This Court sentenced Petitioner to a total term of
imprisonment of 222 months.
matter is now before the Court on Petitioner's pro
se Motion to Vacate Sentence, brought pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. Because the files and records of the case
conclusively establish that Petitioner is entitled to no
relief as to the claims in this § 2255 motion, an
evidentiary hearing is not necessary and the matter is ready
for a decision by this Court. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court shall DENY Petitioner's motion. The
Court further declines to issue a certificate of
was one of six defendants indicted in this case. Petitioner
was represented by Attorney Antonio D. Tuddles. In August
2011, a federal grand jury returned a first superseding
indictment, charging Petitioner with the following: (1) one
count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and
to distribute controlled substances within a school zone and
to use a drug-involved premises, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 846, 856(a)(1), and 860(a); (2) eight
counts of distribution of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1); and (3) one count of possession with intent
to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1). (Doc. #59). On September 28, 2011, the Government
filed a “sentencing enhancement information pursuant to
21 U.S.C. § 851, ” advising that Petitioner had a
prior felony drug conviction. (Doc. #79).
October 24, 2011, Petitioner pleaded guilty, pursuant to a
Rule 11 Plea Agreement, to Count One of the Indictment, which
charged “Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to
Distribute Controlled Substances within a School Zone and to
Use a Drug-Involved Premises, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 846, 856(a)(1), and 860(a).”
(Doc. #96, Rule 11 Plea Agreement, at Pg ID 302-03).
Rule 11 Plea Agreement provided that either party could
withdraw from the agreement if the Court were to decide not
to accept the parties' agreed upon sentence.
(Id. at Pg ID 308). The Agreement also contained an
appellate-waiver provision that stated as follows:
Defendant waives any right he may have to appeal his
conviction. If the sentence imposed does not exceed the
maximum allowed by Part 3 of this agreement, defendant also
waives any right he may have to appeal his sentence. If the
sentence imposed is within the guideline range determined by
Paragraph 2B the government agrees not to appeal the
sentence, but retains its right to appeal any sentence below
(Id. at Pg ID 309).
to the Plea Agreement were sentencing guideline worksheets,
which listed Petitioner's prior convictions and specified
that Petitioner qualified as a career offender under USSG
§ 4B1.1. (Id. at Pg ID 312-18). In the Rule 11
Plea Agreement, the parties agreed that the applicable
guideline range was 262-327 months.
January 10, 2012, the probation department prepared a
presentence report (“PSR”). Petitioner's base
offense level was calculated at 28 pursuant to United States
Sentencing Guideline U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1. (PSR at ¶
33). Petitioner's base offense level was increased two
levels pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1) because he
possessed a firearm. (Id. at ¶ 34). Another
four levels were added to Petitioner's base offense level
because he was an organizer or leader of a criminal activity
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(a). (Id. at ¶
36). Chapter Four Enhancements were applied because
Petitioner was determined to be a career offender, which
resulted in an offense level of 37 pursuant to U.S.S.G.
§ 4B1.1. (Id. at ¶ 39). Petitioner
received a three-level acceptance of responsibility downward
departure. (Id. at ¶¶ 40-41).
Petitioner's total offense level was calculated at 34.
(Id. at ¶ 42). The PSR determined that the
applicable guideline range was 262-327 months of
identified the following prior convictions in support of the
determination that Petitioner was a career offender: (1)
“Attempt Delivery/Manufacture (Narcotic or Cocaine)
Less Than 50 Grams;” (2) “Fleeing Police 3rd
Degree;” (3) “Delivery/Manufacture (Narcotic or
Cocaine) Less Than 50 Grams;” and (4)
“Delivery/Manufacture (Narcotic or Cocaine) Less Than
50 Grams.” (Id. at ¶¶ 44-47).
sentencing, on March 30, 2012, the Government moved for a 10
to 15 percent downward departure from the guideline range
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1. (Doc. #214, Sentencing
Transcript, at Pg ID 2225, 2231). The Government specifically
recommended a range of 222 to 294 months and asked that the
Court impose a sentence of 240 months. (Id. at
2226). In so doing, the Government acknowledged
Petitioner's substantial assistance. (Id. at
trial counsel, Mr. Tuddles, asked the Court to accept the
Rule 11 Plea Agreement. (Id. at 2222). Mr. Tuddles
stated that neither he nor Petitioner had any objections to
the to the Presentence Report. (Id. at 2229-30). Mr.
Tuddles further asked for a variance amounting to half of
what the Government had proposed. (Id. at 2228).
Specifically, Mr. Tuddles asked that Petitioner be sentenced
to 120 months. (Id.).
Amended Judgment (Doc. #171), issued on April 20, 2012,
indicates that Petitioner pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the
Indictment. The remaining counts against Petitioner were
dismissed. This Court sentenced Petitioner to a total term of
222 months - a term below the range specified in
Petitioner's Rule 11 Plea Agreement.
§ 2255 Motion
January 11, 2016, Petitioner filed the instant pro
se motion, seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
(Doc. # 208, Pet. Br.). Petitioner asserts four grounds for
Ground One, Petitioner contends that he was rendered
ineffective assistance of counsel “because his counsel
failed to explain the issues of leadership role enhancements,
weapons enhancements or criminal history points.”
(Id. at Pg ID 2179).
Ground Two, Petitioner “contends that his sentence is
in violation of his Constitutional Rights because he was
enhanced on a sentence that did not fall within the scope of
a career criminal enhancement based on the sentencing
structure that Michigan had in place ...