Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Butts v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Martinsburg

October 24, 2017

STEPHANIE BUTTS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          GINA M. GROH CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The above-styled matter came before the Court for consideration of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi. ECF No. 741 in 3:14-CR-42-3. Pursuant to Rule 2 of the Local Rules of Prisoner Litigation Procedure, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Aloi for submission of a proposed report and recommendation (“R&R”). On September 13, 2017, Magistrate Judge Aloi filed an R&R in which he recommended that this Court deny the Petitioner's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. ECF No. 741 in 3:14-CR-42-3.

         I. Background

         On July 22, 2014, the Petitioner was charged as one of fourteen defendants in a 24-count indictment. The Petitioner was charged in Count 1, conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, Count 5, aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin, and Count 8, aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute heroin. On September 17, 2014, the Petitioner pled guilty to Count 8, aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute heroin. The Government dismissed Counts 1 and 5. ECF No. 239 in 3:14-CR-42-3.

         On January 12, 2015, the Petitioner appeared before this Court for a sentencing hearing. ECF No. 391 in 3:14-CR-42-3. The Court found that the base offense level was 32, based upon the offense, which involved at least 400 kilograms, but less than 700 kilograms of heroin, and the Petitioner's career offender status. ECF No. 684 at 6 in 3:14-CR-42-3. The base offense level was dropped three levels for the Petitioner's acceptance of responsibility and upon the Government's motion. Id. Accordingly, the Court found a total offense level of 29. Id. at 7. Next, the Court found that the Petitioner's criminal history category was VI, based upon 13 points. Id. Therefore, the Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) recommended imprisonment in the range of 151 to 188 months followed by supervised release of at least three years. Id. The Petitioner's counsel did not object to these findings, but argued that “the end result Guidelines, even if they are technically correct, [are not] appropriate in this case.” Id. at 4, 7.

         Ultimately, the Court sentenced the Petitioner to 115 months, a variant sentence. Id. at 19. To support the downward departure, the Court reasoned that there was no firearm or violence involved in the offense, the offense was addiction driven, the Petitioner was cooperative, and the Petitioner became a career offender “by the skin of her teeth.” Id. at 23-24.

         The Petitioner did not file a direct appeal and explains that she did not know that she could appeal. ECF No. 514 at 5, 8 in 3:14-CR-42-3. However, on January 11, 2016, the Petitioner filed a motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, requesting a reduction of her sentence from 115 months to 84 months. The Petitioner argues that the Court: (1) miscalculated the Petitioner's criminal history; and (2) misused the career offender enhancement. Upon review, the magistrate court issued an R&R recommending that the Court deny and dismiss the § 2255 motion with prejudice.

         II. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court is required to make a de novo review of those portions of the magistrate judge's findings to which objection is made. However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Moreover, “[w]hen a party does make objections, but these objections are so general or conclusory that they fail to direct the district court to any specific error by the magistrate judge, de novo review is unnecessary.” Green v. Rubenstein, 644 F.Supp.2d 723, 730 (S.D. W.Va. 2009) (citing Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982)). Failure to file timely objections also constitutes a waiver of de novo review and the petitioner's right to appeal this Court's Order. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984).

         Here, objections to Magistrate Judge Aloi's R&R were due within fourteen days after Petitioner was served, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioner was served with the R&R on September 21, 2017 and filed objections on September 28, 2017. Accordingly, this Court will undertake a de novo review of those portions of Magistrate Judge Aloi's findings to which objection is made. The Court will review the remainder of the R&R for clear error.

         III. Discussion

         The Court will address each of the Petitioner's claims in turn.

         A. Miscalculation of Criminal History

         1. Background

         In Ground One, Petitioner alleges that the Court miscalculated her criminal history. ECF No. 514 at 5 in 3:14-CR-42-3. She does not allege any supporting facts, but states that there have been a “violation of constitutional rights” as follows, “due process, ineffective assistance of counsel, cruel and unusual punishment, [and] cannot deprive a U.S. citizen of life, liberty, or property.” Id. Accordingly, it appears that the Petitioner ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.