United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
DARON D. ROBINSON, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a motion under 28 U.S.C. §
2255 to vacate, set aside or correct sentence by Daron D.
Robinson, a person in federal custody. On July 1, 2015,
Robinson pled guilty before this Court to the offense of
distribution of cocaine base, three counts and, on Septemeber
29, 2015, this Court sentenced Robinson to the Bureau of
Prisons for a term of 120 months, the mandatory minimum
sentence. Robinson's § 2255 motion is fully briefed
and ripe for disposition.
April 16, 2015, a Grand Jury in the Eastern District of
Missouri, Southeastern Division, returned an Indictment
against Daron D. Robinson, charging him with three felony
counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance, in
violation of Title 21, United States Code, §
841(a)(1). Doc. # 1. (Case No. 1:15-cr-00057-SNLJ-1.)
Robinson was arrested and made his Initial Appearance before
United States Magistrate Judge Abbie Crites-Leoni on May 5,
2015. The Federal Public Defender's office was appointed
to represent Robinson, and Assistant Federal Defender Michael
Skrien (“AFD Skrien”) subsequently filed an Entry
of Appearance. Doc. ## 10-11. AFD Skrien appeared on behalf
of Robinson at an arraignment on May 7, 2015, where Robinson
entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. Doc. # 13.
Magistrate Judge Crites-Leoni scheduled a hearing on pretrial
motions for June 2, 2015. Doc. # 15.
8, 2015, AFD Skrien filed a waiver of Robinson's right to
file pretrial motions. Doc. # 23. On June 17, 2015, Robinson
appeared before Magistrate Judge Crites-Leoni and waived his
right to file pretrial motions in open court. Doc. ## 26-27.
1, 2015, Robinson appeared with AFD Skrien and plead guilty
to all three counts in the Indictment. Doc. ## 28-29.
Robinson and the government reached a plea agreement that was
reduced to writing, setting out the parties'
understandings as to the disposition of the case. Doc. # 29
(Plea Agreement). In the agreement, the parties acknowledged
the possibility that Robinson may qualify as a Career
Offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Pursuant to the
agreement, the parties remained free to litigate whether or
not Robinson qualified as a Career Offender. Plea Agreement,
p. 6. Further, Robinson reserved the right to appeal any
sentencing issues. Id. This court ordered a
Presentence Report and scheduled a sentencing hearing for
September 29, 2015.
Presentence Investigation Report
United States Probation Office prepared the Presentence
Report. Doc. ## 30, 32 (“PSR”). The PSR found
that Robinson did indeed qualify as a Career Offender
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). That section provides
A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was at
least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed
the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of
conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or
a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at
least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of
violence or a controlled substance offense.
term “controlled substance offense, ” in turn, is
defined under the sentencing guidelines as:
an offense under federal or state law, punishable by
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that prohibits
the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing
of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) or the
possession of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit
substance) with intent to manufacture, import, export,
distribute, or dispense.
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(b).
identified two qualifying controlled substance offenses
serving as Career Offender predicates: (1) a conviction from
the Circuit Court of Scott County, Missouri, in Case No.
02CR745171-01, for two counts of sale of a controlled
substance; and (2) a conviction from the Circuit Court of
Scott County, Missouri, in Case No. 07SO-CR01176-01, for
possession of a controlled substance with the intent to
distribute. See PSR, ¶ ¶ 28, 35, and 38. Because
Robinson qualified as a Career Offender, the adjusted offense
level was determined to be 32. PSR, ¶ 28. After a three
level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, the total
offense level was found to be 29. PSR, ¶ 31. The PSR
further determined that Robinson's criminal history
category was VI. PSR, ¶ 48.Based on a total offense
level of 29 and a criminal history category of VI, the
applicable guideline imprisonment range was determined to be
151-188 months. PSR, ¶ 75.
party filed objections to the PSR.
to the sentencing hearing, AFD Skrien filed a sentencing
memorandum on behalf of Robinson. See Doc. # 34. In the
memorandum, AFD Skrien acknowledged that the advisory
guideline imprisonment range of 151-188 months was correctly
calculated. Although there was no dispute as to the guideline
range, AFD Skrien cited a number of factors which, in his
view, supported a sentence below the bottom end of the range.
On September 29, 2015, the parties appeared before this Court
for a sentencing hearing. Robinson was sentenced to
concurrent terms of imprisonment of 120 months on each of the
three counts, followed by three years of supervised release.
Doc. ## 36-38. The sentence imposed by this Court was below
the bottom end of the applicable guideline range.
did not appeal his conviction or sentence.
Petition for Post-Conviction Relief Pursuant to §
August 31, 2016, Robinson filed a motion under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, claiming that the Career Offender enhancement
was improperly ...