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Screws v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division

February 4, 2019

CALVIN SCREWS, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN HYLES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Calvin Screws's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. Mot. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, ECF No. 64. For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that Screws be denied § 2255 relief, an evidentiary hearing being denied, a Certificate of Appealability be denied, and any motion to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal be denied.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On January 15, 2015, a grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Screws. Indictment, ECF No. 1. Count One charged Screws with possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). Count Two was for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). Count Three charged Screws with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Indictment, ECF. No. 1.

         On January 20, 2015, the Court appointed the Federal Defenders of Middle Georgia to represent Screws. Order Appointing Counsel, ECF No. 4. Screws moved to suppress both the physical evidence that was seized from him on the date of his arrest and statements he made to law enforcement. Mot. to Suppress Evid., ECF No. 24; Mot. to Suppress Custodial Statements, ECF No. 25. Following a suppression hearing, the Court denied both motions on November 3, 2015. Min. Sheet re. Suppression Hr'g, ECF No. 33.

         On January 19, 2016, the Court allowed the Federal Defenders of Middle Georgia to withdraw from the case because Screws had retained counsel Michael Eddings. Notice of Appearance, ECF No. 45; Mots. to Withdraw, ECF Nos. 47, 48; Order, ECF No. 49.

         Screws pleaded guilty to Counts One and Two on February 24, 2016. Change of Plea, ECF No. 53; Plea Agreement, ECF No. 54.

         The United States Probation Office (“Probation”) prepared a Presentence Investigation Report (“PSI”). PSI, ECF No. 58. Probation calculated the guideline imprisonment range for Count One to be thirty-three to forty-one months and “[w]ith respect to Count Two, a sentence of at least [sixty] months, to be imposed consecutively to Count One.” PSI at 17, ECF No. 17. On October 11, 2016, the Court sentenced Screws to thirty-seven months for Count One and sixty months for Count Two, to be served consecutive to Count One, for a total of ninety-seven months' imprisonment. J. in a Criminal Case, ECF. No. 60.

         Screws did not appeal. On October 19, 2017, he filed a Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. Mot. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, ECF No. 64. Respondent filed a response. United States' Resp. in Opp'n to Mot. to Vacate Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, ECF No. 66.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Screws stipulated to the following facts in the plea agreement:

On June 30, 2014, Officer Travis Contreras with the Columbus Police Department was on routine patrol when two passing vehicles alerted him to a blue truck following close behind them. The officer observed the truck cross the double yellow line, accelerate in front of the two vehicles and slam on its brakes. The truck was followed to a housing complex in Muscogee County, Columbus, GA, where the truck jumped a curb and came to a stop. The driver (and sole occupant) exited the truck and began running. He was observed carrying two grocery bags.
The driver was apprehended after a brief foot chase and identified as the Defendant, Calvin Screws. The grocery bags were located several feet away. Inside them were located the following:
10 baggies containing 12.8 grams of suspected cocaine;
a loaded Springfield Armory, model XD-40 .40 caliber pistol, S/N XD522987;
two pistol magazines;
21 rounds of .40 ammunition;
a black digital scale;
The Defendant was Mirandized and gave a voluntary, recorded statement to the officer. The Defendant stated the reason he was observed driving erratically was that he was trying to mess with his cousin who was driving in front of him, but who didn't know it was him (Screws) tail-gating her. He was asked why he had ditched the guns and drugs in an area where children could find them. He stated that he knew it was wrong and that he didn't want the children to find them, but didn't want the officer to find them either. He stated he purchased the gun on the street and didn't know if it was stolen. When asked about the drugs, he said he was just trying to make a little money and stressed that he sells only to adults and not kids.
The pistol was examined by an expert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and determined to have been manufactured outside GA. It functioned as designed.
The suspected narcotics were tested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with the following results: 2 of the 10 baggies contained a total of 4.89 net grams of cocaine base while the remaining 8 baggies had a net weight of 2.65 ...

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