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Taylor v. United States

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

January 28, 2019

EPHREN TAYLOR II, BOP Reg. # 26896-045, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

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

          UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER AND FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ALAN J. RAVERMAN UMTED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Movant, Ephren Taylor II, filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence in criminal action number 1:14-cr-217-TCB-AJB-1. [Doc. 87.][1] The Government filed a response in opposition. [Doc. 101.] Movant filed a reply, [Doc. 109], additional documents in support of his § 2255 motion, [Docs. 125, 126, 134, 143, 144], and a motion for evidentiary hearing, [Doc. 133].

         Movant also submitted two motions to expand the record. [Docs. 127, 129.] Movant asks the Court to consider information regarding his use of Xanax and alcohol. [Doc. 127 at 1-2; Doc. 129 at 1-2.] The Government did not oppose the motions to expand the record. For good cause shown, the undersigned GRANTS Movant's motions to expand the record, [Docs. 127, 129].

         Movant further submitted a motion to disqualify United States District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., from this case. [Doc. 132.] Judge Duffey subsequently retired, and the case was reassigned to United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. [See Dkt. Entry July 2, 2018.] Accordingly, Movant's motion to disqualify, [Doc. 132], is DENIED AS MOOT.

         Finally, Movant submitted a “motion for judicial docket data.” [Doc. 136.] Movant asks the Court to provide “the number of habeas cases pending before Hon. Judge Batten ahead of this instant proceeding.” [Id. at 1.] Movant's request is not relevant to whether he is entitled to § 2255 relief. Accordingly, Movant's “motion for judicial docket data, ” [Doc. 136], is DENIED.

         For the reasons discussed below, Movant's motion for evidentiary hearing, [Doc. 133], is DENIED, and the undersigned RECOMMENDS that his § 2255 motion, [Doc. 87], be DENIED.

         I. 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Standard

         A motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence may be made “upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). “[C]ollateral review is not a substitute for a direct appeal . . . .” Lynn v. United States, 365 F.3d 1225, 1232 (11th Cir. 2004) (per curiam). Section 2255 relief “is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for that narrow compass of other injury that could not have been raised in direct appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Id. (quoting Richards v. United States, 837 F.2d 965, 966 (11th Cir. 1988)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         A § 2255 movant “has the burden of sustaining his contentions by a preponderance of the evidence.” Tarver v. United States, 344 Fed.Appx. 581, 582 (11th Cir. Sept. 18, 2009) (per curiam) (quoting Wright v. United States, 624 F.2d 557, 558 (5th Cir. 1980)[2]). The Court must conduct an evidentiary hearing unless “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). “[A] district court need not hold an evidentiary hearing where the movant's allegations are affirmatively contradicted by the record, or the claims are patently frivolous.” Bain v. United States, 565 Fed.Appx. 827, 828 (11th Cir. May 12, 2014) (per curiam) (quoting Aron v. United States, 291 F.3d 708, 715 (11th Cir. 2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In the present case, the undersigned determines that an evidentiary hearing is not needed because the § 2255 motion and record conclusively show that Movant is entitled to no relief. Accordingly, the undersigned ORDERS that Movant's motion for evidentiary hearing, [Doc. 133], is DENIED.

         II. Discussion

         On October 8, 2014, Movant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. [Docs. 1, 40.] On March 24, 2015, the District Court, Duffey, J., filed the Judgment and Commitment, sentencing Movant to 235 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. [Doc. 65.] Movant did not appeal. [Doc. 87 at 2.] The District Court, Duffey, J., subsequently reduced Movant's custodial sentence to 223 months. [Doc. 103.] The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the sentence reduction. See United States v. Taylor, 727 Fed.Appx. 979 (11th Cir. Feb. 27, 2018) (per curiam). [Doc. 128.]

         Movant timely executed his § 2255 motion on March 16, 2016. [Doc. 87 at 12.] Movant claims that (1) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance (grounds one through four), and (2) the District Court, Duffey, J., erred (grounds five through seven). [Id. at 20-37; see also Doc. 101 at 13-14.]

         A. Grounds ...


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