United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in
Manchester, Kentucky, filed with this Court a motion under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence. The Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS Petitioner's
motion to amend be DENIED (doc. nos. 22-1, 22-2), the §
2255 motion be DENIED without an evidentiary hearing, this
civil action be CLOSED, and final judgment be ENTERED in
favor of Respondent.
trial resulted in Petitioner's conviction for conspiracy
to distribute and possession with intent to distribute
controlled substances, and using a communication facility to
facilitate commission of a crime. United States v.
Donaldson, CR 111-361, doc. no. 207 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 2,
2011) (“CR 111-361”). Petitioner claims in the
present petition trial counsel ineffectively failed to argue
various aspects of the investigation and arrest violated his
March 2011, Richmond County narcotics officers commenced an
investigation of Dorsett Mandrell Williams. United States
v. Donaldson, 558 F. App'x 962, 963 (11th Cir.
2014), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 1451, 191 L.Ed.2d 403
(2015). A confidential informant alleged Mr. Williams was
selling large amounts of cocaine from two houses on Camille
Street in Augusta, Georgia. Id. Confirming the tip
through surveillance and controlled purchases of cocaine,
officers obtained court authorization on May 24, 2011 to
intercept calls on Mr. Williams's phones. Id.
The phone intercepts informed officers Petitioner was also
engaged in narcotics distribution and was Mr. Williams's
supplier. Id. at 964. In one conversation, for
example, Mr. Williams told Petitioner he had $29, 000 to
purchase drugs. Id. On June 10, 2011, officers
observed Petitioner deliver half a kilogram of cocaine to Mr.
21, 2011, Judge Daniel J. Craig in the Superior Court of
Richmond County issued a court order, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3122 and O.C.G.A. § 16-11-64.1, authorizing
investigators to receive real-time cell site information and
GPS location tracking of Petitioner's cell phone. (CR
111-361, doc. no. 284-1.) Judge Craig found such information
relevant to the criminal investigation that would constitute
or lead to evidence of cocaine distribution. (Id. at
1, 3.) On June 25, 2011, Judge Craig issued another court
order authorizing investigators to intercept Petitioner's
phone calls. (Id., doc. no. 175, Ex. 5.)
26, 2011, officers observed Petitioner arrive at Mr.
Williams's stash house and leave with a white bag.
Donaldson, 558 F. App'x at 964. Investigators
followed Petitioner to 2911 Rolling Wood Drive in Augusta,
Georgia. (CR 111-361, doc. no. 218, p. 28.) Later that day,
officers pinged Petitioner's phone and determined it was
located at 180 Oakland Drive in North Augusta, South
Carolina. Donaldson, 558 F. App'x at 964.
Officers confirmed this was Petitioner's residence by
observing him there and determining a vehicle at the address
was registered to him. Id. In addition, officers
pinged Petitioner's cell phone and located it at the same
residence on June 27 and 28, 2011. Id.
27, 2011, officers intercepted a call between Petitioner and
“Big” in which Petitioner arranged the purchase
of four kilograms of cocaine. Id. at 965. The next
day, on June 28, 2011, Richmond County officers contacted
Detective Phillip Turner of the North Augusta Department of
Public Safety, for assistance in obtaining a warrant to
search Petitioner's residence. Id. Based on a
summary of the investigation to date, Detective Turner
drafted a search warrant application and affidavit which
stated in part as follows:
Through the use of multiple investigative means and
techniques it has been established that within the past
seventy-two hours, [Petitioner] was in possession of a
quantity of cocaine and was in the process of acquiring more
cocaine. Through further investigative techniques it has been
discovered that [Petitioner] is living at 180 Oakland Drive,
North Augusta, South Carolina. Reviewing the City of North
Augusta water files it has been discovered that the account
is in [Petitioner's] name. Upon conducting physical
surveillance at the residence, a [vehicle] is parked at the
residence and does come back [as registered] to [Petitioner].
Through using proven investigative tools and measures, it has
been established that [Petitioner] has been present for
extended periods of time at the residence in question. Upon
my training and experience, I believe that probable cause
exists that cocaine and items associated with the
distribution or ingestion of cocaine are present on the
property of 180 Oakland Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina.
same day, June 28, 2011, Detective Turner met with the
Honorable Roger Edmonds, Chief Magistrate Judge of Aiken
County, South Carolina, to apply for the search warrant.
Id. at 965. In addition to the affidavit, Detective
Turner provided sworn but unrecorded testimony regarding
details of the investigation. (Id. at 966; CR
111-361, doc. no. 126, p. 7.) Judge Edmonds then signed the
search warrant. Donaldson, 558 F. App'x at 966.
29 and 30, 2011, phone intercepts discussed an upcoming
meeting between Petitioner and Big on the morning of July 1,
2011. Id. On July 1, 2011, Petitioner told Big in a
phone conversation he was on his way to the meeting and would
purchase three kilograms of cocaine instead of four.
Id. Officers followed Petitioner, uncertain where
the meeting would occur. Id. Petitioner drove
westbound on Interstate 20 for a significant distance, and
officers believed he was driving to Atlanta. Id. Not
willing to lose Petitioner in Atlanta, officers stopped
Petitioner and a canine raised an alert during an open air
sniff around Petitioner's vehicle. Officers searched
Petitioner's vehicle and found a bag containing $82, 025.
Id. Officers took Petitioner to a nearby rest stop,
and Petitioner admitted he was traveling to Atlanta to
purchase three kilograms of cocaine with the money.
Id. at 967.
same time as the traffic stop, officers executed the search
warrant of Petitioner's residence and found 736.5 grams
of cocaine, 124.9 grams of crack, 221.9 grams of marijuana,
$57, 000, a .40 caliber handgun, and a Rolex watch.
November 2, 2011, a grand jury in this district charged
Petitioner with one count of conspiracy to distribute and
possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; three counts of possession
with intent to distribute controlled substances, in violation
of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B), (b)(1)(C),
(b)(1)(D); six counts of using a communication facility in
causing or facilitating the commission of a felony, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 2;
and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a
drug trafficking offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c). (CR 111-361, doc. no. 1.) Petitioner pled not guilty
on November 28, 2011. (Id., doc. no. 25.)
Motion to Suppress
January 6, 2012, Petitioner filed a motion to suppress
alleging (1) there was no probable cause for the traffic stop
and car search on Interstate 20; (2) the search warrant
affidavit for Petitioner's home did not establish
probable cause and contained false information; and (3) the
Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule
did not apply. (Id., doc. no. 90.) After an
evidentiary hearing, United States Magistrate Judge W. Leon
Barfield rejected all four arguments and recommended denial
of the motion. (Id., doc. no. 126.) United States
District Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., adopted Judge
Barfield's findings and overruled Petitioner's
objections. (Id., doc. nos. 126, 149, 218.)
bench trial that began on June 12, 2012, the Court heard
testimony from Richmond County Sheriff's Office
Investigator Ty Hester, North Augusta Department of Public
Safety Investigator Phillip Turner, and former co-defendant
Mr. Williams. (Id., doc. no. 217.) Investigator
Hester explained how the investigation of Mr. Williams led to
Petitioner, and he described the development of the case
through intercepted phone calls, controlled drug purchases,
the traffic stop on July 1, 2011, and the search of
Petitioner's home on the same date. (Id. at 13,
15, 18, 25, 35, 47, 49, 52.)
Turner described his efforts to obtain the search warrant on
June 28, 2011. (Id. at 86.) In so doing,
Investigator Turner explained that he confirmed
Petitioner's address as 180 Oakland Drive by running the
DMV license plates of vehicles found at the address to
determine they were registered to Petitioner, and by
searching city utility records and finding Petitioner listed
as the resident. (Id. at 88-89.) Investigator Turner
also testified regarding the large quantities of illegal
drugs his team found at Petitioner's home during the
search on July 1, 2011. (Id. at 91, 172.)
Williams testified that he first purchased cocaine from
Petitioner in late 2009. (Id. at 140.) As Mr.
Williams's cocaine sales flourished, he began purchasing
kilograms of cocaine from Petitioner every one to two weeks
and on multiple occasions he purchased $30, 000 of cocaine
from Petitioner. (Id. at 142-47, 158-60, 161-62.)
Verdict and Sentence
close of the evidence, defense counsel argued the Court erred
in denying his motion to suppress because there was no nexus
between Petitioner's home and any criminal activity.
(Id., doc. no. 217, pp. 179-82.) Judge Bowen
re-affirmed the ruling, finding there was “a plentitude
of evidence” supporting the search warrant.
(Id. at 184.) Judge Bowen found Petitioner guilty of
one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with
intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine
hydrochloride, twenty-eight grams or more of cocaine base,
and an amount of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
846; and one count of using a communication facility in
causing or facilitating the commission of a felony, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b). (Id., doc. no.
October 11, 2012, Judge Bowen sentenced Petitioner to 169
months imprisonment, five years supervised release, an $8,
000.00 fine, and $100.00 special assessment. (Id.)
On June 24, 2015, Judge Bowen reduced Petitioner's
sentence from 169 months to 136 ...