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Ransom v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

November 13, 2017

CHUCKY RANSOM, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

         MOTION TO VACATE 28 U.S.C. § 2255

          FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LINDA T. WALKER, UNITED-SPATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Movant is a federal prisoner who, pro se, challenges under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 his sentence of imprisonment. (Doc. 587.)[1] Respondent filed a response opposing the motion. (Doc. 602.) For the reasons discussed below, Movant is not entitled to relief.

         I. Background

         In March 2015, a grand jury indicted Movant for several crimes related to the theft of over $10 million in U.S. Treasury checks. (Doc. 1.) The first count of the indictment was conspiracy, which the indictment alleged began "from at least in or about February 2011." (Id. at 1.) The overt acts of the conspiracy included aggravated identity theft, which the indictment alleged that Movant committed in December 2013. (Id. at 4, 8-9.)

         Movant pied guilty to the conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges. (Doc. 418.) The maximum prison sentence for the conspiracy charge was five years. 18 U.S.C. § 371. The aggravated identity theft charge carried a mandatory prison sentence of two years that must be served consecutively to the sentence for the conspiracy charge. Id. § 1028A(a)(1), (b)(2).

         Attorney Joseph Key represented Movant throughout this case, including at sentencing. The U.S. Probation Office prepared a presentence investigation report ("PSR") for Movant. (Doc. 617.)

         The PSR documented Movant's extensive criminal history, which includes twenty-one convictions spanning almost twenty-five years. (Id. at 29-43.) The PSR calculated a criminal history score of nineteen under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (the "Guidelines"). (Id. at 39.) Category six is the highest criminal history category and applies when the score is thirteen points or more. Movant's score was seventeen based solely on his prior convictions, and two points were added because he committed the federal crimes while on probation for two prior state crimes. (Id.)

         Before sentencing, Key moved for a downward departure from the Guidelines sentencing range on the ground that the criminal history score calculated in the PSR over represented the seriousness of Movant's criminal history and the risk of recidivism. (Doc. 465.) After hearing argument on that issue at sentencing, the Court denied the motion for a downward departure. (Doc. 534 at 2-8.)

         The Court sentenced Movant to a total of eighty-four months' imprisonment. (Doc. 470.) That sentence consisted of sixty months for the conspiracy conviction (the statutory maximum) and twenty-four months for the aggravated identity theft conviction (the amount required by statute). (Id.) Movant did not file an appeal.

         Movant asserts one claim in his § 2255 motion. (Doc. 587.) That claim is that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because Key did not properly investigate and object to the inclusion in his criminal history score of five old convictions. (Id.) Those convictions are:

1. a conviction in April 1999 for not having proof of insurance;
2. a conviction in February 2002 for unlawfully possessing a ...

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