United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Movant Antonio Turner's
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 1.) Respondent
United States of America responded (Doc. 3), and Movant filed
a reply (Doc. 4).
pending is Movant's request “to incorporate his
2255 petition with the 2255 petition of Corey Turner
Sr.” (Doc. 5.) While Movant and Corey Turner, Sr. were
co-defendants in their criminal trial, their habeas motions
are separate actions raising individualized claims and cannot
be combined. Further, Movant's only grounds for habeas
relief are based on his trial counsel's allegedly
ineffective assistance. Movant and Corey Turner, Sr. had
different trial counsel and therefore none of Movant's
claims relate to Corey Turner Sr.'s habeas motion.
Accordingly, this Court will deny the request to incorporate
the motions or otherwise consolidate the two actions.
Movant also has a pending Motion for Leave to File Notice of
Supplement Authority. (Doc. 6.) The supplemental authority
Movant proffers speaks to the requirement that the government
prove drug quantity as an element of the crime. (See
Doc. 6 (citing United States v. Rowe, 191 F.3d 752
(3d Cir. 2019).) He did not raise that issue in his motion.
(See Doc. 1.) As such, the Court construes
Movant's motion for leave as an attempt to amend his
motion to add the failure to prove drug quantity as an
additional ground for habeas relief.
pro se filings are held to “less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976), this Court does not
allow amendments by interlineation. Movant has not asked for
leave to file an amended § 2255 motion and any request
at this late date would be untimely. Moreover, any habeas
ground premised on the government's failure to prove drug
quantity has no legal merit because the jury did find, as an
element of the offense, that the conspiracy involved more
than five kilograms of cocaine. (United States v.
Turner, No. 1:11-cr-00103-JAR-5, Doc. 1059 at Inst. 25;
Doc. 1060.) Accordingly, the Court will deny this motion.
March 28, 2013, Movant was charged with conspiring to possess
with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine
and with distributing cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841 and 846. (Turner, Doc. 1005.) On
April 12, 2013, a jury found Movant guilty on both counts.
(Turner, Doc. 1056.) Movant's Final Presentence
Report calculated a total offense level of 38 and a criminal
history category of VI, which corresponded to a guidelines
range of 360 months to life in prison. (Turner, Doc.
1128 at 25.) However, because Movant had three prior
convictions for felony drug offenses, the Government filed a
§ 851 Notice with the Court indicating that Movant was
subject to an enhanced sentence of life in prison.
(Turner, Docs. 1054, 1128 at 25.)
Court sentenced Movant to life in prison. (Turner,
Doc. 1143.) The Eighth Circuit affirmed Movant's
conviction and sentence (Turner, Doc. 1305), and the
United States Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of
certiorari (Turner, Doc. 1342).
then filed this Motion, advancing two instances of
ineffective assistance of trial counsel. (Doc. 1.) First, he
argues that counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that
Movant's enhanced sentence violated the Supreme
Court's decision in Alleyne v. United States,
570 U.S. 99, 117 (2013), which held that aggravating facts
that increase a defendant's mandatory minimum sentence
are elements of the crime which the government must prove
beyond a reasonable doubt. (Id.) Relatedly, Movant
argues that counsel failed to argue that the holding in
Alleyne undermined the Court's holding in
Almendarez-Torres v. United States, 523 U.S. 224,
243 (1998), when the Court carved out an exception for prior
convictions, holding that they need not be proved.
argues that Alleyne expressly retained the
Almendarez-Torres exception for prior convictions
and that counsel is not ineffective for failing to challenge
existing precedent. (Doc. 3.) Likewise, Respondent argues,
Movant was not prejudiced by that failure because the
challenge would have been futile. (Id.)
reply, Movant recognizes that the Alleyne Court did
not overrule Almendarez-Torres, but he nonetheless
argues that its holding undermines the reasoning of the
earlier case and argues that counsel should have said so.
§ 2255 movant is entitled to relief when his sentence
“was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States.” Sun Bear v. United
States, 644 F.3d 700, 704 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2255(a)). The movant must show that the
“claimed error constituted ‘a fundamental defect
which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice.'” Id. (quoting United States
v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979)).
prove ineffective assistance of counsel, a movant must show
that his attorney's performance was objectively
unreasonable, and that he was prejudiced as a result.
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984).
To establish prejudice, the movant must show “a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding ...