United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, St. Joseph Division
AUDREY J. LINGLE, Movant,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE
GREG KAYS, Chief District Judge.
Movant Audrey J. Lingle ("Lingle") pled guilty to two drug-related charges. She now files a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 1). For the reasons below, Lingle's § 2255 motion is DENIED without an evidentiary hearing, and the Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Buchanan County, Missouri, Drug Strike Force jointly investigated methamphetamine trafficking in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. These agencies concluded that Lingle was involved in this illegal operation.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Lingle with one count of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine (Count I), and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering (Count II). Lingle appeared before the Court and pled guilty to the lesser-included charge of Count I, that is, conspiring to distribute a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, and to Count II.
The parties executed a written plea agreement under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(B). See Plea Agreement, United States v. Lingle, No. 11-CR-6011-SJ-DGK-20, Doc. 622 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 12, 2013). The plea agreement expressly waived Lingle's right to collaterally challenge her conviction or sentence "on any ground, " except claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and an illegal sentence. Id. ¶ 15(b). The plea agreement noted, "An illegal sentence' includes a sentence imposed in excess of the statutory maximum, but does not include less serious sentencing errors, such as a misapplication of the Sentencing Guidelines...." Id. The Court asked Lingle several questions to ensure she understood the plea agreement's provisions, including the waiver:
THE COURT: Paragraph 15, if you'll turn to that paragraph, please. It's found on page 12. And it's labeled waiver of appellate and post-conviction rights.... Paragraph 15 represents the benefit to the government, something you're giving up. By pleading guilty, pursuant to this plea agreement, you're waiving your right to appeal this case or file a post-conviction motion. Even though you don't know what you're going to get yet you're waiving those rights in all respects except for three, which you can't waive, illegal sentence, prosecutorial misconduct, or ineffective assistance of counsel. But in all other ways you're saying, Judge, I'm not going to appeal this or file a post-conviction motion. I'm waiving my rights. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
Tr. of Change-of-Plea Hrg., Lingle, No. 11-CR-6011-SJ-DGK, Doc. 968 at 17 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 10, 2013).
Lingle and the Court then generally discussed whether she had had enough time to consider whether to take the plea agreement:
THE COURT: Did [your attorney] spend sufficient time with you to talk to you about your case, your options, your plea, your defenses?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: You may have been working on this [plea agreement] for months, or maybe years sometimes. I don't know. Do you know how long ...