United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
TO VACATE 28 U.S.C. § 2255
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Catherine M. Salinas United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before me on (A) Cornelius Bernard Wilson's
pro se (1) “First Motion Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a
Person in Federal Custody”  and (2) “Addendum
to Supplement to Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a
Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody” , (B) the
government's response , and (C) Wilson's reply
. Because Wilson is proceeding pro se, I have
construed his filings liberally. See, e.g.,
Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263
(11th Cir. 1998). Nevertheless, for the reasons stated below,
I RECOMMEND that Wilson's § 2255
motion, as supplemented, be DISMISSED and
that a Certificate of Appealability be
provide context, it is helpful to begin by quoting the
summary of facts set forth in the panel opinion deciding the
consolidated direct appeals filed by Wilson and two of his
In early 2012, the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
(“ATF”)] received information that [Woodrow]
Dixon wanted to rob a drug dealer named “Tony.”
“Tony” was actually a government agent posing as
a drug buyer as part of an undercover effort to investigate
Dixon for cocaine distribution. Dixon came into contact with
Tony through the efforts of a confidential informant named
Brian Guyton, and Dixon told Guyton that he wanted to rob
Tony. Dixon explained to Guyton that robbing drug dealers (as
opposed to selling drugs) was what he really did, that he had
robbed a drug dealer in the past, and that he had a
“crew” for these robberies.
When the ATF learned of Dixon's proposal, it used Guyton
to feed information to Dixon about Tony's supposed stash
house. Dixon, believing the stash house to be real, recruited
accomplices-[Kirk] Floyd, Wilson, and Krisdeon Slack-to rob
it. The ATF also used Guyton to introduce two undercover
agents to Dixon. These agents, going by the names of
“Shawn” and “Toby, ” posed as
discontented associates of Tony who, in exchange for a share
of the loot, would give Dixon inside information on the
location of the stash house and when to rob it. Shawn told
Dixon that he could guarantee that at least 25 kilograms of
cocaine would be in the stash house.
Dixon hashed out the details of the robbery plan with Floyd,
Wilson, Guyton, and the undercover agents over the course of
several meetings and phone conversations. He came up with the
basic plan for them to carry out the robbery posing as police
officers. . . .
The day before the robbery, Dixon told Guyton that he would
have to miss the robbery due to an out-of-town work
assignment, but that Floyd would be in charge. On the day of
the robbery, Floyd, Guyton, Wilson, and Slack (Dixon's
replacement) met to go over the final details. Floyd also
brought equipment-guns, police badges, and police vests.
Shawn then called Floyd, telling him to meet at a storage
facility. When Guyton, Floyd, Wilson, and Slack arrived, law
enforcement converged on the car and arrested them. Dixon was
arrested when he returned to Atlanta.
United States v. Dixon, 626 Fed.Appx. 959, 962 (11th
Floyd, Wilson, and Slack were jointly indicted. See
United States v. Dixon, No. 1:12-CR-205-ODE (N.D.Ga.
2012) [2 therein]. Almost immediately, Slack entered a guilty
plea. See Id. [66 therein]. The following day,
Dixon, Floyd, and Wilson were charged in a superseding
indictment with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery (all
three men), possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime
of violence (all three men), conspiring to possess with
intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine (all
three men), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
(Floyd and Wilson, in separate counts). See Id. [68
moved to have his trial severed from that of his
co-defendants, and his motion was granted. See Id.
[126 & 164 therein]. And, in November 2013, Dixon and
Floyd were tried and convicted on all counts against them.
See Id. [207 & 209 therein].
government then offered Wilson an opportunity to avoid trial
if he would, among other things, (A) waive indictment, (B)
plead guilty to an information charging him with to
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least five
kilograms of cocaine and knowingly carrying a firearm during
and in relation to a drug trafficking offense, and (C) waive
his collateral attack rights. One substantial benefit to
Wilson from this plea offer was that the charges to be
contained in the information in the new case would carry a
mandatory minimum sentence lower by five years than the
mandatory minimum sentence for the charges against him
contained in the superseding indictment in the original case.
See Dixon, 626 Fed.Appx. at 164 (“the
government . . . recommend[ed] a lower sentence through the
plea agreement compared to what he would have faced under the
indictment”). Wilson accepted this deal and agreed to
plead guilty to an information filed in United States v.
Wilson, No. 1:13-CR-476-ODE (N.D.Ga. 2013), the case
listed in the caption. See [1, 2, 3 & 3-1].
Honorable Orinda D. Evans held a hearing pursuant to Federal
Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, examined Wilson at length
about the basis for and substance of his Plea Agreement, and
accepted Wilson's guilty plea. See .
after pleading guilty, Wilson began filing pro se
motions, seeking, among other things, to replace his counsel
and withdraw his guilty plea. See, e.g., [5, 8,
& 12]; see also [6 & 7]. At Judge Evans'
direction, Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III appointed
new counsel for Wilson. See . (This was
Wilson's third attorney, as ...