United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MCBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
for consideration the motion of Ashley Simpson
("movant") under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate,
set aside, or correct sentence. After having considered the
motion, its supporting memorandum, the government's
response and supplemental response, the reply, and pertinent
parts of the record in No. 4:16-CR-213-A, styled "United
States of America v. Ashley Simpson, et al.," the court
has concluded three of the grounds of the motion are
meritless and should be denied, and that the fourth ground,
while probably without merit, requires a hearing before a
ruling can be made thereon.
contained in the record of the underlying criminal case
discloses the following:
September 7, 2016, movant and Jose Pablo Morales
("Morales"} were added as defendants in a fourth
superseding indictment filed in another criminal case. CR
20. By order signed September 8, 2016, the court ordered that
the offense charged by that indictment against movant and
Morales be severed and be deemed the indictment in Case Mo.
4:16-CR-213-A. CR Doc. 21. On October 17, 2016, movant was
named in a one-count superseding information charging her
with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 0
grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a
detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 846. CR Doc. 42.
October 20, 2016, movant appeared before the court with the
intent to enter a plea of guilty to the offense charged
without benefit of a plea agreement. CR Doc. 46. Movant and
her attorney signed a factual resume setting forth the
elements of the offense, the maximum penalty movant faced,
and the stipulated facts supporting movant's guilt. CR
Doc. 48. Movant and her attorney also signed a waiver of
indictment. CR Doc. 47. Under oath, movant stated that no one
had made any promise or assurance of any kind to induce her
to plead guilty. Further, movant stated her understanding
that the guideline range was advisory and was one of many
sentencing factors the court could consider; that the
guideline range could not be calculated until the presentence
report ("PSR") was prepared; the court could impose
a sentence more severe than the sentence recommended by the
advisory guidelines and movant would be bound by her guilty
plea; movant was satisfied with her counsel and had no
complaints regarding her representation; and, movant and
counsel had reviewed the factual resume and movant understood
the meaning of everything in it and the stipulated facts were
true. CR Doc. 79.
probation officer prepared a PSR reflecting that movant's
base offense level was 38. CR Doc. 55. She received a
two-level increase for importation of methamphetamine,
id. ¶ 23, and a two-level and one-level
decrease for acceptance of responsibility, id.
¶¶ 29, 30. Based on a total offense level of 37 and
a criminal history category of III, movant's guideline
range was 262 to 327 months. Id. ¶ 89. Movant
filed objections to the PSR, CR Doc. 75, and the probation
officer prepared an addendum to the PSR. CR Doc. 62.
March 3, 2017, the court sentenced movant to a term of
imprisonment of 2 62 months. CR Doc. 71. The court noted that
movant's attorney had made a "lot of good
points," and sentenced her at the bottom of the
guideline range. CR Doc. 80 at 21. Movant appealed, CR Doc.
77, and the judgment was affirmed. United States v.
Simpson, 708 Fed.Appx. 191 (5th Cir. 2018).
Grounds of the Motion
urges four grounds in support of her motion, worded as
GROUND ONE: Failure to file meritorious
issues on appeal that would entitle her to relief
Doc. 1 at PagelD 4.
GROUND TWO: Failure to object to drug
quantity in the ...