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Wilson v. United States

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

January 26, 2018

CORNELIUS BERNARD WILSON, BOP ID 35726-019, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

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

          FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Catherine M. Salinas United States Magistrate Judge

         This 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” [56] and (2) “Addendum to Supplement to Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody” [58], (B) the government's response [59], and (C) Wilson's reply [60]. 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 DENIED.

         To 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 co-defendants.

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 Cir. 2015).

         Dixon, 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 therein].

         Wilson 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].

         The 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].

         The 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 [24].

         A month 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 [10]. (This was Wilson's third attorney, as ...


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