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Blanton v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

August 16, 2019

STORM MICHAEL BLANTON, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN MCBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Came on for consideration the motion of Storm Michael Blanton, movant, under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence. After having considered the motion, its attached memorandum, the government's response, the reply, and pertinent parts of the record in No. 4:16-CR-085-A, styled "United States of America v. Storm Michael Blanton," the court has concluded that the motion should be denied.

         I. Background

         Information contained in the record of the underlying criminal case discloses the following:

On April 13, 2016, movant was named in a one-count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). CR Doc.[1] 1. On July 1, 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. 24. Movant and his 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. 25. Under oath, movant stated that no one had made any promise or assurance of any kind to induce him to plead guilty. Further, movant stated his 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 his guilty plea; movant was satisfied with his 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. 45.

         The probation officer prepared the PSR, which reflected that movant's base offense level was 14. CR Doc. 28, ¶ 22. Movant received a two-level enhancement because the firearm was stolen, id., ¶ 23, and a two-level and a one-level decrease for acceptance of responsibility, id. ¶¶ 29-30. Based on a total offense level of 13 and a criminal history category of IV, the guideline imprisonment range was 24 to 30 months. Id. ¶ 89. The government filed objections to the PSR, arguing that movant should receive an increase for obstruction of justice and should not receive the decreases for acceptance of responsibility. CR Doc. 29. Movant also filed an objection to the PSR, arguing that he should not receive criminal history points for a prior conviction. CR Doc. 30. The probation officer prepared an addendum to the PSR, accepting the government's objection that an increase for obstruction of justice should be applied, but continuing to conclude that movant should receive the reduction for acceptance of responsibility. CR Doc. 34.

         On November 10, 2016, movant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 9 0 months. CR Doc. 39. Movant appealed. CR Doc. 41. His sentence was affirmed. United States v. Blanton, 704 Fed.Appx. 390 (5th Cir. 2017). His petition for writ of certiorari was denied. Blanton v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1452 (2018).

         II. Grounds of the Motion

         Movant asserts five grounds in support of his motion, worded as follows:

         GROUND ONE: Federal Jurisdiction Doc.[2] 8 at 4.[3]

         GROUND TWO: Ineffective assistance of counsel Id. at 5.

         GROUND THREE: Ineffective assistance of counsel Id. at 6.

         GROUND FOUR: Ineffective assistance of counsel Id. at 7.

         GROUND FIVE: Ineffective assistance of ...


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