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Jenkins v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 15, 2019





         On January 22, 2019, Petitioner Marvin Lamont Jenkins filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Petitioner argues that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel because he (1) failed to properly advise Petitioner about his decision to plead guilty, (2) failed to seek a more advantageous plea offer, (3) failed to discuss and explain the presentence investigation report (PSR) prior to sentencing, (4) failed to file substantive objections to the PSR, (5) failed to argue that Petitioner had a minor role and was entitled to a sentence reduction and (6) failed to consult with him concerning an appeal.

         On April 8, 2019, the Government filed its Response in Opposition arguing that Petitioner's claims are conclusory and lack factual details, as well as belied by the record in this matter. Petitioner filed a Reply brief in support of his § 2255 motion on May 28, 2019. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Petitioner's 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition.


         On March 31, 2016, a grand jury returned a three count indictment against Petitioner charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

         On June 13, 2017, Petitioner appeared for a final pretrial conference, which was also the plea cutoff date. At the hearing, the Government indicated that Petitioner could plead guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and the firearm offense, counts II and III, and the government would dismiss the conspiracy charge, count I. The Government further noted that the plea offer would have required Petitioner to serve a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment and his projected guideline range was 180 to 195 months. Petitioner rejected this offer after discussing it with his attorney. ECF. No. 107 at PgID 794-96.

         On July 18, 2017, the morning of trial, Petitioner accepted an amended offer that allowed him to plead guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine only, with a guideline range of 135 to 158 months and an agreed-upon sentence of 156 months imprisonment. The Court indicated on the record that the plea agreement was pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C), thus the Court would be bound to the sentence the parties agreed upon. ECF. No. 108 at PgID 811-13, 819. Petitioner acknowledged his understanding that his sentence would be thirteen years in prison. Id. at 819.

         Counsel filed a timely objection to the PSR related to Petitioner's education level. On December 14, 2017, the Court sentenced Petitioner to 156 months imprisonment. Petitioner's judgment was entered on January 1, 2018. Petitioner did not file a notice of appeal.

         The facts giving rise to this action began in early March of 2016 when the Detroit office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was alerted that Petitioner's co-defendant, Jorge Duarte, was en-route via an Amtrak train to Detroit to conduct a large-scale narcotics transaction. On March 5, 2016, Duarte arrived at the Amtrak station where he was picked up by Petitioner, who was driving a Ford F-150 pick-up truck that he had rented. Petitioner drove with Duarte to a hotel in Southfield, paid cash to rent a room at a hotel, where he dropped Duarte off.

         On March 6, 2016, agents observed Petitioner on two separate occasions carrying luggage into the hotel room occupied by Duarte. On the first occasion, Petitioner took in a small black duffle bag with grey accents. On the second occasion, Petitioner struggled with the weight of the luggage, wheeling in a large duffle bag. Pursuant to a search warrant, those pieces of luggage were later located in the hotel room rented by Petitioner. The luggage contained a heat sealer, money counter, and $820, 113.00 in United States currency.

         After delivering the large duffle bag to the hotel room, Petitioner and Duarte traveled to a gas station in Dexter, Michigan where they briefly met with occupants of a semi-truck to obtain the cocaine. Immediately following the meeting, Petitioner dropped Duarte off at the hotel. After Petitioner left the hotel, a Southfield police officer, working under the supervision of DEA agents, conducted a traffic stop. A canine, trained to detect the odor of narcotics, positively indicated to the presence of drugs inside Petitioner's rental vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, officers found 24 kilograms of cocaine in the back seat in a large duffle bag. Additionally, Petitioner had a loaded firearm, which he turned over to law enforcement, along with his concealed pistol license (CPL) paperwork.

         Following his arrest, Petitioner gave a post Miranda statement to law enforcement officers. He admitted in detail his role in the conspiracy dating back to December 2015. Petitioner admitted to acting as an intermediary, facilitating large-scale drug transactions between a Mexican source of supply and an identified metro Detroit based customer. Petitioner admitted that in addition to the 24 kilograms of cocaine he was arrested with, he facilitated two other 24 kilogram quantity transactions between the parties. The first sale of 24 kilograms of cocaine occurred in December 2015, for which the Petitioner negotiated a price of $34, 000 per kilogram of cocaine. In February 2016, when the second shipment of 24 kilograms of cocaine was sent, the negotiated price decreased to $32, 000 per kilogram.

         During each transaction, Petitioner would rent a hotel room for Duarte, where he would drop him off after his arrival in Detroit. Petitioner would receive cash from the buyer and deliver it to the hotel room for Duarte to count. Petitioner would meet with the truck driver to receive the cocaine, which he would then deliver to the Detroit based distributor. For his role in the conspiracy, Petitioner indicated he was paid $500 per kilogram. In total, Petitioner admitted to conspiring to distribute, and personally transporting at least 72 kilograms of cocaine, handling more than 2 million dollars in U.S. currency, and personally profiting at least $36, 000 for his role.

         III. LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2255

          In order to obtain relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Petitioner must allege: (1) an error of constitutional magnitude, (2) a sentence was imposed outside the federal statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire criminal proceeding invalid. Moss v. United States, 323 F.3d 445, 454 (6th Cir. 2003). The Court may summarily deny § 2255 relief “without conducting an evidentiary hearing [where] ‘the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that ...

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