United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MCBRYDE, UNITED STATES DISTRICTS JUDGE.
for consideration the motion of Melissa Veatch
("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, the reply, and pertinent parts of the record in No.
4:16-CR-132-A, styled "United States of America v.
Charles Ben Bounds, et al.," the court has concluded
that the motion should be denied.
contained in the record of the underlying criminal case
discloses the following:
On May 18, 2016, movant was named in a superseding indictment
charging her with conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance
containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 84 6. CR Doc. 215. On June 22,
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. 314. 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. 315. 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
his 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.
probation officer prepared a PSR reflecting that movant's
base offense level was 38. CR Doc. 710, ¶ 29. She
received a two-level enhancement for importation,
id. ¶ 30, a two-level enhancement for
maintaining a premises for manufacturing or distributing a
controlled substance, id. ¶ 31, and a
three-level enhancement for being a manager or supervisor of
criminal activity involving five or more participants,
id. ¶ 33. She received a two-level and a
one-level downward adjustment for acceptance of
responsibility. Id. ¶¶ 37-38. Based on a
total offense level of 42 and a criminal history category of
VI, movant's guideline range was 3 60 months to life.
Id. ¶ 117. The statutorily-authorized maximum
sentence was 4 0 years; therefore, the guideline imprisonment
range became 3 60 months to 480 months. Id.
filed objections to the PSR. CR Doc. 1380. The probation
officer prepared an addendum to the PSR. CR Doc. 818. On
November 21, 2016, the court signed an order tentatively
concluding that movant's objections were without merit
and cautioning that there was a question as to whether she
should receive any reduction for acceptance of
responsibility. CR Doc. 823 .
November 23, 2016, movant appeared for sentencing. CR Doc. 84
0. She withdrew her objections to the PSR except for an
objection as to paragraph 11, regarding the amount of
methamphetamine for which movant should be held responsible.
CR Doc. 1288 at 5-6. The government presented the testimony
of Special Agent McCurdy, id. at 10-18, and the
court overruled movant's objection. Id. at 18.
The court questioned whether movant should be entitled to
acceptance of responsibility, but noted that it would not
make any difference in her sentence. Id. at 18-19.
She was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 400 months. CR
Doc. 84 8. Movant appealed and her sentence was affirmed.
United States v. Veatch, 705 Fed.Appx. 338 (5th Cir.
2017). Her petition for writ of certiorari was denied.
Veatch v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1709 (2018).
of the Motion
asserts four grounds in support of her motion, all alleging
ineffective assistance of counsel. Doc. 1. She says her
counsel was ineffective (1) for failing to persist in
challenging the drug quantity calculation in the PSR,
id. at PageID 4, (2) for failing to persist in objecting
to the importation enhancement, id. at PageID 6, (3)
for failing to persist in objecting to the drug premises
enhancement, id. at PageID 9, and (4) for failing to
conduct an adequate investigation before withdrawing
objections to the PSR, id. at PageID 11.
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