Griffith v. United States of America (INMATE3)
ORDER as follows: 1. Mr. Griffith's 17 Objections are OVERRULED. 2. The Magistrate Judge's 14 Recommendation is ADOPTED. 3. Mr. Griffith's 1 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion is DENIED with prejudice. A separate final judgment will be entered. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 3/19/2015. (dmn, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JAMES HAROLD GRIFFITH,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
) CASE NO. 3:11-CV-1084-WKW
On February 9, 2015, the Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation (Doc.
# 14) that James Harold Griffith’s 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion be denied with prejudice.
Mr. Griffith timely filed objections to the Recommendation. (Doc. # 17.) Based
upon an independent and de novo review of those portions of the Recommendation
to which objection is made, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the court finds that the objections
are due to be overruled and the Recommendation adopted.
As put by Mr. Griffith, his “entire” § 2255 petition “centers around” what he
contends amounts to “an incorrect drug quantity determination that erroneously holds
him accountable for more than 270-grams of ‘unusable’ toxic liquid waste, and
incorrectly double counts traces of the same drug in each container of toxic waste that
was used in one multi stage process that only started with 2.4 grams of pseudo
ephedrine.” (Doc. # 17, at 1–2.) Mr. Griffith objects to the Magistrate Judge’s
findings that he is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims and that he did
not demonstrate actual prejudice by his trial and appellate counsel’s failure to
investigate, argue, and defend the position that the quantity of methamphetamine
mixture underlying his conviction and sentence contained unusable liquids. The
arguments raised in Mr. Griffith’s objections mirror the arguments he made to the
Magistrate Judge, and the Recommendation adequately addresses and properly rejects
For example, Mr. Griffith fails to demonstrate any legal or factual error in the
Magistrate Judge’s conclusion that his case is distinguishable from United States v.
Rolande-Gabriel, 938 F.2d 1231, 1238 (11th Cir. 1991) (holding “that the term
‘mixture’ in U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1 does not include unusable mixtures”) and United States
v. Newsome, 998 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1993) (applying the rationale of
Rolande-Gabriel and holding that the district court “erred in treating as
methamphetamine the gross weight of unusable sludge mixtures which contained
only trace amounts of methamphetamine”). Additionally, as to the performance of
trial counsel, no legal error has been shown in the Magistrate Judge’s conclusions that
Mr. Griffith failed to establish (1) that the mixtures containing detectable amounts of
methamphetamine or pseudoephedrine included unusable waste, (2) that “analysis by
an independent expert would have resulted in the expert testifying that the seized
liquid contained any unusable waste” or that “any unusable waste . . . , if excluded
from any calculation, would have affected his sentence,” (3) that cross-examination
of a government forensic chemist “would have yielded testimony that the seized
liquid contained unusable waste that, if excluded from the drug amounted attributed
to him, would actually have affected his sentence,” (4) that “had the court’s
instructions [to the jury] contained the language urged by Griffith, the jury’s verdict
regarding Count 1 would have been different,” or (5) that he suffered actual prejudice
when his trial counsel failed to object to the presentence report’s drug-quantity
calculations. (Recommendation, at 14–18.) Finally, Mr. Griffith fails to show that
the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that the errors assigned to his appellate counsel
resulted in actual prejudice to Mr. Griffith. (See Recommendation, at 18–20.)
Bottom line, based upon an independent and de novo review of those portions
of the Recommendation to which objection is made, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the court
finds that Mr. Griffith’s objections fail to undermine the Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge and that the Recommendation is due to be adopted.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
Mr. Griffith’s objections (Doc. # 17) are OVERRULED.
The Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation (Doc. # 14) is ADOPTED.
Mr. Griffith’s 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion is DENIED with prejudice.
A separate final judgment will be entered.
DONE this 19th day of March, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?