Williams v. United States, Case No. 2:13-cv-1124

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
Writing for the CourtMagistrate Judge King
PartiesMAURICE L. WILLIAMS, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
Decision Date23 June 2015
Docket NumberCrim. No. 2:08-cr-186(2),Case No. 2:13-cv-1124


Case No. 2:13-cv-1124
No. 2:08-cr-186(2)


June 23, 2015

Judge Sargus
Magistrate Judge King


Petitioner Maurice L. Williams, a federal prisoner, brings this action to vacate, set aside or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's motions to vacate, Motion to Vacate and Supplemental Motion, ECF 1450, 1449, Respondent's Response, ECF 1484, Petitioner's traverses, Traverse, ECF 1495, Traverse, ECF 1496, and the exhibits of the parties.1 For the reasons that follow, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the motions to vacate be DENIED and that this action be DISMISSED.

Facts and Procedural History

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit summarized the facts and procedural history of this case as follows:

On February 26, 2009, Williams was charged with thirty-two federal drug-related offenses in a superseding indictment along with twenty-eight co-defendants. At trial, more than twenty witnesses testified for the Government regarding Williams's leadership role in an international drug trafficking organization. See R. 1139-48, Trial Transcript. Trial testimony revealed that Williams was involved in cocaine trafficking back in the 1990s. R. 1148, p. 103-04. Williams worked "together as a team" with Kenyatta Powell beginning in 2001. Id. at 112. Williams and

Page 2

Powell would pool their money to buy cocaine from Albert Bean and sell it to lower-level dealers. Id. at 105, 108, 113-15. Before long, Powell introduced Williams to Terrence Pfeiffer so that he could join the cabal. Id. at 128. Pfeiffer subsequently introduced Williams to Antonio Carlton, who similarly assumed a role in the organization. R. 1140, p. 397. Williams and Powell jointly assigned drug-related tasks to Pfeiffer and Carlton, id., until Powell went to prison in 2001. R. 1139, p. 131.

Once Powell was in prison, Williams took control of the entire operation. Id. at 133. In doing so, Williams supervised numerous additional individuals. To begin, under Williams's business model, Williams supplied other cocaine dealers, such as Kevin Cook, Cheo Greenhow, and Casey Drake, with cocaine on consignment. See R. 1141, p. 665; R. 1144, p. 1150; R. 1142, p. 731-32. Williams also hired multiple people to facilitate the smooth operation of his organization. First, there was Darrell Evans, who was responsible for transporting the cocaine. See R. 1141, p. 607-09. Later, when Williams worried that Evans might cooperate with police, Williams hired a woman named Crystal to make drug runs. R. 1144, p. 1156. Ultimately, Williams expanded his operation, and he hired Demetrius Slaughter and Marlon West to help transport the cocaine. R. 1139, p. 153; R. 1144, p. 1060. Kevin Cook, acting on Williams's behalf, also hired Wayne Marshall to help facilitate the cocaine delivery. R. 1143, p. 967-76. This rotating cast of characters facilitated Williams's cocaine and marijuana organization, but Williams also hired individuals exclusively for the purpose of selling marijuana, such as Malcom Ross. R. 1143, 928-32.

Unbeknownst to Williams, the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") began investigating his organization in January 2008. R. 1148, p. 33. In May, FBI agents received court permission to tap Cook's phone, and by June, additional wiretaps were authorized for a phone number identified in the first wiretap. Id. at 37, 44-45. In July, FBI agents executed search warrants at four locations deemed likely to contain evidence of illicit activity, including Williams's residence in Charter Oak. Id. at 75.

Several months later, Williams organized a "business" trip to the Mexican border accompanied by six individuals: "Drake, Powell, West, a woman called Purple, Jeff Williams, and a Jamaican associate of Williams named John." Appellee Br. at 16. On February 26, 2009, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Williams and his co-defendants. R. 33, Superseding Indictment. By March 29, 2009, FBI agents arrested

Page 3

everybody but Williams. R. 1148, p. 77. Williams continued to elude capture until August 2009. Id. at 73, 93.

Williams's trial began on March 22, 2010. R. 1148. The jury returned a guilty verdict with respect to 30 counts: operating a CCE in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(a); conspiracy to distribute, possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(ii), and 846; conspiracy to distribute, possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C) and 846; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i); and twenty-five counts of the use of a telecommunications device to facilitate a drug transaction in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843. Appellant Br. at 2.

On October 14, 2010, the district court sentenced Williams to 25 years' imprisonment on the CCE; five years' imprisonment for the firearm, to be served consecutively with the CCE; and four years on each of the telecommunications charges, to be served concurrently with the CCE. R. 1272, Sentencing Transcript. Williams timely appealed.

On appeal, Williams alleges four errors. First, Williams argues that the district court erred in "failing to instruct the jury that it must unanimously agree on the five individuals that appellant managed, supervised, or organized" during the CCE. Appellant Br. at 1. Second, Williams asserts that the district court "erred in denying Appellant's motion to suppress evidence" seized from the Charter Oak residence (the "residence"). Id. Third, Williams contends the district court erred in "denying Appellant's motion to suppress wiretapped communications...." Id. Finally, Williams claims that the district court "erred by giving an improper instruction on venue to the jury as to the telecommunications offenses." Id. at 2.

United States v. Williams, No. 10-CV-4326, 461 Fed.Appx. 483, unpublished, 2012 WL 447413 (6th Cir. Feb. 13, 2012).2 On February 13, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment of this Court. Id. On November 13, 2012, the United States

Page 4

Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari. Williams v. United States, - U.S. -, 133 S.Ct. 626 (2012).

The Motion to Vacate and Supplemental Motion to Vacate were filed on November 12, 2013. The Supplemental Motion to Vacate, ECF 1449, which was filed by counsel, alleges that Petitioner was denied the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his conviction on Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment ("the CCE Count" or "Count 1"). Specifically, Petitioner complains that his trial counsel failed to challenge the sufficiency of the CCE Count, failed to move for a bill of particulars prior to trial, and failed to object to a constructive amendment of the CCE Count in the Superseding Indictment. Supplemental Motion to Vacate, PageID# 7066, 7072. Petitioner also asserts the denial of the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his counsel's alleged failure to provide Petitioner transcripts of recorded conversations, failure to argue that those conversations were evidence of only misdemeanors, and failure to request lesser included offense instructions. Supplemental Motion to Vacate, PageID# 7077, 7079. Petitioner also alleges a violation of his Sixth Amendment right in connection with the sentence imposed on the CCE Count. Id. at PageID# 7075.

The Motion to Vacate, ECF 1450, which was filed by Petitioner pro se, complains that the jury was not properly instructed, that he was not properly sentenced, and that his trial and appellate counsel were ineffective in failing to object to or raise these issues on appeal. Petitioner also complains that his trial counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to investigate and call certain witnesses. Id.

Page 5

Standard of Review

In order to obtain relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a petitioner must establish the denial of a substantive right or defect in the trial that is inconsistent with the rudimentary demands of fair procedure. United States v. Timmreck, 441 U.S. 780 (1979); United States v. Ferguson, 918 F.2d 627, 630 (6th Cir. 1990) (per curiam). Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is available when a federal sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, when the trial court lacked jurisdiction, or when the sentence exceeded the maximum sentence allowed by law or is "otherwise subject to collateral attack." United States v. Jalili, 925 F.2d 889, 893 (6thCir. 1991). Where a non-constitutional error is alleged, the question is "whether the claimed error was a 'fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice,' " Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 346 (1974)(quoting Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428-29 (1962)); see also Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2006). Non-constitutional claims not raised at trial or on direct appeal are waived for collateral review except where the errors amount to something akin to a denial...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT