United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
LAWRENCE N. WILSON, Movant,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
J. QUIST, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lawrence Wilson, has filed a Motion Under 28 U.S.C. §
2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence By a Person in
Federal Custody, seeking relief from his conviction by plea
to possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of
crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii). Wilson pled guilty on June 11,
2014, before Magistrate Judge Hugh Brenneman, pursuant to a
plea agreement and an amended plea agreement. (Case No.
1:14-CR-39 (Criminal Case), ECF No. 30.) Judge Bell accepted
Wilson's plea on August 18, 2014. (Criminal Case, ECF No.
36.) Because Wilson had at least two prior convictions of
either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense,
Wilson qualified as a career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G.
§ 4B1.1. (Criminal Case, ECF No. 42 at PageID.174.) On
October 27, 2014, Judge Robert Holmes Bell sentenced Wilson
to 192 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised
release. (Criminal Case, ECF No. 47.)
appealed his sentence to the United States Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit. On January 9, 2017, the Sixth Circuit
affirmed, rejecting Wilson's argument that his appeal
waiver in his plea agreement was invalid. United States
v. Wilson, 675 Fed.Appx. 526, 529-31 (6th Cir. 2017).
Wilson did not file a petition for certiorari to the United
States Supreme Court. Nor did Wilson file a § 2255
motion within the one-year period set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(f)(1). Instead, on June 3, 2019-more than two
years after the one-year period under § 2255(f)(1)
expired, Wilson filed his instant motion, invoking §
2255(f)(4), which provides a one-year limitations period
commencing “the date on which the facts supporting the
claim or claims presented could have been discovered through
the exercise of due diligence.” Citing Descamps v.
United States, 570 U.S. 254, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013), and
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016),
Wilson argues that his counsel was ineffective for failing to
raise “whether the state statutes [supporting his prior
convictions] are divisible and subject to categorical
analysis.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID.4.) Wilson argues that
his counsel's ineffective assistance provides cause for
his untimely filing. (Id. at PageID.3.)
to Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings
for the United States District Courts, upon receiving a
§ 2255 Motion, the judge who imposed the sentence must
“promptly examine” the motion, and “[i]f it
plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and
the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not
entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion and
direct the clerk to notify the moving party.” Having
conducted the review required by Rule 4(b), the Court will
dismiss the motion because it is without merit.
only for purposes of review pursuant to Rule 4(b) that
Wilson's motion is timely,  Wilson's motion is subject to
dismissal because Wilson waived his right to collateral
review in both his original and his amended plea agreements.
(Criminal Case, ECF No. 26 at PageID.50-51; ECF No. 29 at
PageID.63.) The waiver provided, in pertinent part:
“The defendant also waives the right to challenge such
a sentence and the manner in which it was determined in any
collateral attack, including but not limited to, a motion
brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (except a challenge that
goes to the validity of this waiver, such as a claim that the
waiver was involuntary or the product of ineffective
assistance of counsel).” (ECF No. 29 at PageID.63.)
transcript of the plea hearing discloses that not only did
the prosecutor explain the terms of the waiver during the
plea hearing, (Criminal Case, ECF No. 35 at PageID.116-17),
but that the magistrate judge did so as well. The magistrate
judge advised Wilson, “You're giving up your right
to file [a § 2255] motion as well unless you were to
file it based on the fact that you thought you had not waived
that right or that you had ineffective assistance of counsel
. . . . Do you understand that?” Wilson answered,
“Yes.” (Id. at PageID.126.)
well established in the Sixth Circuit that
“plea-agreement waivers of § 2255 rights are
generally enforceable.” Short v. United
States, 471 F.3d 686, 698 (6th Cir. 2006); see also
In re Acosta, 480 F.3d 421, 422 (6th Cir. 2007)
(“We have held that a defendant's informed and
voluntary waiver of the right to collaterally attack a
conviction and sentenced is enforceable.”). In fact,
“[i]t is well settled that a defendant in a criminal
case may waive any right, even a constitutional right, by
means of a plea agreement.” United States v.
Fleming, 239 F.3d 761, 763-64 (6th Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation marks omitted). All that is required is that the
waiver must have been knowing and voluntary. Cox v.
United States, 695 Fed.Appx. 851, 853 (6th Cir. 2017).
there can be no dispute that Wilson's waiver of his right
to file a collateral attack on his sentence was knowing and
voluntary. First, the magistrate judge's plea colloquy
with Wilson establishes that Wilson knowingly and voluntarily
waived his rights. Second, the Sixth Circuit's decision
on appeal concluded that Wilson's appeal waiver, which
was part of the same provision containing the
collateral-attack waiver, was valid. Wilson, 675
Fed.Appx. at 531. Moreover, Wilson does not argue in his
instant § 2255 motion that his wavier of his right to
collaterally attack his sentence was not knowing and
voluntary or that the waiver was the product of ineffective
assistance of counsel.
Wilson does not raise the argument-because he does not
mention his collateral attack waiver-Wilson has no basis to
argue that Descamps and Mathis are not
within the scope of his waiver. First, Descamps was
decided a year before Wilson entered into the plea agreement.
Second, even though Mathis was decided after Wilson
entered into the plea agreement, the waiver still applies.
The Sixth Circuit “has consistently held [that] §
2255 or appeal waivers with plain language that precludes . .
. Mathis-based claims are enforceable even if those
waivers were entered into years before . . . Mathis
[was] decided.” Cox, 695 Fed.Appx. at 853. As
the Sixth Circuit has explained, “[i]t is well settled
. . . that a change in law cannot render a plea agreement
unknowing.” United States v. Morrison, 852
F.3d 488, 490 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Brady v. United
States, 397 U.S. 742, 757, 90 S.Ct. 1463, 1473 (1970),
and United States v. Bradley, 400 F.3d 459, 463 (6th
Cir. 2005)). Because a plea agreement, like any other
contract, allocates risks between the parties, “a
defendant assumes the risk that a shift in the legal
landscape may engender buyer's remorse.”
Id. Thus, “courts will enforce appeal waivers
even when a legal development makes it likely that the
defendant would receive a lower sentence were the defendant
resentenced under the new law, and even when the legal change
affects constitutional rights.” Id. at 491.
in light of his knowing and voluntary waiver of his right to
collaterally attack his sentence pursuant to § 2255, or
any other avenue of collateral attack, Wilson's §
2255 motion is subject to dismissal.
concluded that Wilson is not entitled to relief, the Court
must consider whether a certificate of appealability should
issue under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). A certificate should
issue if Wilson has demonstrated a “substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(2). The Sixth Circuit has disapproved issuance
of blanket denials of a certificate of appealability.
Murphy v. Ohio, 263 F.3d 466, 467 (6th Cir. 2001).
To demonstrate the denial of a constitutional right, the
movant must show that reasonable jurists could conclude that
the motion should have been resolved in a different manner,
or that the issues presented were adequate enough for
encouragement to proceed further. See Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483-84, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 1603
(2000). Consequently, this Court has considered Wilson's
claim under the Slack standard. The Court finds that
reasonable jurists could not find that this Court's
dismissal of Wilson's claim on the basis that Wilson
waived his right to collaterally attack his sentence was
debatable or wrong. Therefore, the Court will deny Wilson a
certificate of appealability.
the Court will dismiss Wilson's § 2255 Motion and
deny him a certificate of appealability A separate order will