Tate v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge L Scott Coogler on 2/24/2015. (KAM, )
2015 Feb-24 AM 11:08
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DAPHNE COLLETTE TATE,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
This is a motion to vacate, set aside or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, filed by Petitioner Daphne Collette Tate (“Tate”) on July 24, 2014. (Doc. 1.)
Tate challenges her convictions and sentences resulting from her plea of guilty to
possession of a counterfeit check, bank-fraud conspiracy, possession of stolen mail,
and aggravated identity theft arising out of her membership in a multi-state check
counterfeiting ring. For the reasons set forth below, Tate’s § 2255 motion is due to
A superseding indictment was entered on March 27, 2013, charging Tate and
five co-defendants with various crimes related to check counterfeiting. Tate was
charged with one count of uttering and possessing a counterfeit security, aiding and
abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 513(a) and 2 (Count 1); one count of conspiracy
to commit bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 1344 (Count 2); four
counts of possession of stolen mail matter, aiding and abetting in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 1708 and 2 (Counts 3 through 6); and five counts of aggravated identity
theft, aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1028A and 2 (Counts 7 through
11). (Doc. 19 in criminal case1.) The indictment also contained a notice of the
Government’s intent to seek forfeiture against Tate under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C)
and 28 U.S.C. § 2461 for the offense charged in Count 2. (Id.)
On April 30, 2013, Tate signed a plea agreement and pled guilty in this Court
to Counts 1, 2, 3, 7, and 9. (Docs. 31 (plea agreement) and doc. 159 (transcript from
guilty plea hearing)). Tate stipulated that the crimes involved a loss of over $200,000.
She also consented to pay restitution jointly and severally with any convicted codefendants in the amounts and to the victims determined by the Court at the time of
sentencing and to an entry of forfeiture jointly and severally with any convicted codefendants in an amount to be determined by the Court at sentencing. (Doc. 31.) In
exchange for Tate’s plea, the Government stated that it would move the Court to
All citations to docket entries will hereafter refer to entries in Tate’s criminal
proceeding, unless otherwise noted.
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dismiss Counts 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 11 of the superseding indictment at sentencing.
Tate’s plea agreement contained an appeal waiver with limited exceptions.
Tate’s pre-sentence investigation report (“PSR”) stated that the statutory
maximum term of imprisonment on Count 1 is 10 years; 18 U.S.C. § 513(a); the
maximum term of imprisonment on Count 2 is 30 years, 18 U.S.C. § 1349, 1344; and
the maximum term of imprisonment on Count 3 is five years, 18 U.S.C. § 1708. The
PSR stated that Counts 1, 2, and 3 are grouped for Sentencing Guidelines
(“Guidelines”) calculation purposes, U.S.S.G. § 3D1.2(d), and calculated a total
offense level of 25 on these counts consisting of: 1) a base offense level of seven,
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(a)(1); 2) a 12-level increase because the loss amount was
over $200,000 and under $400,000, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(1); 3) a fourlevel increase because the offense involved more than 50 victims, pursuant to
U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(2)B); 4) a three-level increase because Tate was a manager or
supervisor and the criminal activity involved five or more participants or was
otherwise extensive, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(b); 5) a two-level increase for
obstruction of justice pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1; and 6) a three-level decrease for
acceptance of responsibility pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(a) and (b). (See Doc. 72 in
criminal case.) Combined with a criminal history category of II, the total offense level
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of 25 yielded an advisory Guidelines range of 63 months to 78 months imprisonment
on Counts 1, 2, and 3. The PSR also noted that the Guidelines sentence on Count 3
would be capped at 60 months imprisonment, which is the statutory maximum
sentence on that count, U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(a). For Counts 7 and 9, the PSR stated that
the statutory sentence is two years on each count, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, and that the
terms of imprisonment on Counts 7 and 9 shall not run concurrently with any other
term of imprisonment imposed on Tate under any other provision in law, including
any term of imprisonment on Counts 1, 2, and 3, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(b)(2). However,
at the Court’s discretion, it may run the two, 2-year terms concurrently with one
another. 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(b)(4). The PSR noted that the Guidelines sentence for
Counts 7 and 9 is the term of imprisonment required by statute, which is two years
consecutive on each count.
This Court sentenced Tate on August 28, 2013. See transcript of sentencing
hearing, doc. 160. Tate’s objections to the PSR were only to the two-level increase for
obstruction of justice and to the three-level increase for the manager or supervisor
role. The Government moved for a 20 percent downward departure from the low end
of the Guidelines range as calculated by the Court on Tate’s sentence for Counts 1,
2, and 3 because Tate provided substantial assistance to the Government pursuant to
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U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1. The Court overruled Tate’s objections to the PSR, granted the
Government’s motion for the 20 percent downward departure, and granted the
Government’s oral motion to dismiss Counts 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 11. The Court
sentenced Tate to a total term of 74 months imprisonment: 50 months as to Counts
1, 2, and 3 concurrently with each other, plus 24 months as to Counts 7 and 9,
concurrently with each other but consecutively to the sentence imposed on Counts 1,
2, and 3. Tate was also sentenced to a term of supervised release of 60 months;
ordered to pay restitution jointly and severally with several co-defendants in the
amounts of $29,504.00 to Regions Bank, $28,634.33 to Wells Fargo, and $1,981.37 to
BBVA Compass; and also ordered to forfeit property in the amount of $60,119.70 to
the United States. A judgment reflecting the aforementioned terms as well as a final
order of forfeiture were both entered on August 30, 2013. (Docs. 77 and 78 in criminal
case.) Tate did not appeal.
On May 15, 2015, the Government filed a motion pursuant to Rule 36 of the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure seeking that the Court correct certain clerical
errors in the judgment and final order of forfeiture as to the restitution and forfeiture
The corrections pertained to which co-defendants owed certain
restitution amounts to which victims jointly and severally as well as the fact that Tate
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owed the forfeiture amount of $60,119.70 jointly and severally with her four codefendants. The Court granted the motion, entered an amended final order of
forfeiture on May 19, 2014 (doc. 145) and an amended judgment on May 21, 2014.
On July 24, 2014, Tate filed the instant pro se § 2255 motion in this Court. The
Court conducted an initial review of her motion pursuant to Rule 4(b) of the Rules
Governing Section 2255 Proceedings which revealed that although Tate cited case law
relevant to an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, she offered no facts in support
of such a claim. Accordingly, the Court issued an order to Tate to show cause within
20 days why her motion should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. (Doc. 2 in this action.) On September 28, 2014, Tate
filed a request to respond to the show cause order out of time. Attached to her
request, she submitted a form § 2255 motion in which she asserted four
1) “Plea not knowing and voluntary or intelligently made” — “I would
not have signed a plea agreement had I known that I would face
additional enhancements. I would have insisted on going to trial.
Counsel did not inform me of additional enhancements that would or
could be placed upon my person after the plea agreement was signed.”
2) “Plea was induced by threat to prosecute third party” — “I was told
that my disabled son would be prosecuted if I did not enter into a plea
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agreement or plead guilty.”
3) “Failure to investigate” — “I was sentenced to a dollar amount that
was found to not be true and was later corrected. Had my attorney
investigated, she would have been aware of this error and the money
enhancement would have been lowered.”
4) Alleyne error — “My guideline range was enhanced on elements that
were not charged in the indictment, agreed to by me, or submitted to a
jury. This is a violation of my Due Process rights and rights to a trial by
jury. I was enhanced for role in the offense, loss amount, and victims.”
(Doc. 3 in this action.)
Although the Court granted Tate’s request for 15 additional days to respond to
the show cause order, Tate never submitted anything further. Accordingly, her §
2255 motion is ripe for review.
Timeliness and non-successive nature of Tate’s § 2255 motion
Because Tate filed her § 2255 motion within one year of the date that the
judgment of her conviction became final, the motion is timely. See 28 U.S.C. §
2255(f)(1). Further, nothing in the record indicates that Tate previously filed a § 2255
motion. Thus, the current motion is not “successive” within the meaning of §
Several of Tate’s claims are barred by the appeal waiver in her plea
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Tate’s signed plea agreement contained a waiver of her right to appeal her
conviction and/or sentence as well as her right to challenge her conviction and/or
sentence in a post-conviction proceeding, with limited exceptions: she may contest in
an appeal or in a post-conviction proceeding any sentence imposed in excess of the
applicable statutory maximum sentence; any sentence imposed in excess of the
Guidelines sentencing range determined by the Court at the time the sentence is
imposed; and claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 31 at 20-22.)
An appeal waiver is enforceable if it was made knowingly and voluntarily.
United States v. Bushert, 997 F.2d 1343, 1350–51 (11th Cir. 1993). An appeal waiver
will be enforced if either “the district court specifically questioned the defendant
about the waiver during the plea colloquy” or “the record clearly shows that the
defendant otherwise understood the full significance of the waiver.” United States v.
Crrinard–Henry, 399 F.3d 1294, 1296 (11th Cir. 2005) (quotation marks omitted).
During Tate’s change of plea hearing, the Court specifically questioned Tate about
the appeal waiver and confirmed that Tate understood its terms. See Transcript of
Change of Plea Hearing, doc. 159, at 20. Further, Tate does not dispute that she
knowingly and voluntarily waived her right to challenge her convictions and sentences
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in post conviction proceedings. Thus, Tate’s appeal waiver is valid and enforceable.
The particular claims that are barred by the waiver are discussed below.
Tate’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel related to her
decision to plea guilty
Tate’s first claim is that her guilty plea was “involuntary” as a result of
ineffective assistance of counsel because her attorney did not warn her of the
Guidelines enhancements that would be applied to her sentence. She claims that had
her attorney told her that her sentence would be enhanced because the loss amount
was over $200,000, the offense involved more than 50 victims, and she held a
supervisory role, she would not have pled guilty and would have insisted on going to
trial. Tate’s plea agreement does not bar this claim because the appeal waiver
contains an exception allowing her to bring an ineffective assistance of counsel claim
in a post-conviction motion. However, even taking Tate’s allegation as true that her
attorney did not discuss possible enhancements with her, she fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.
Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel may be raised for the first time in a
§ 2255 motion as opposed to on direct appeal and are therefore not subject to a
procedural bar. Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 504 (2003). The applicable
standard is well-established: post-conviction relief will not be granted on a claim of
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ineffective assistance of counsel unless the petitioner can show not only that counsel’s
performance was deficient but also that such deficient performance prejudiced her
defense. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). More specifically, the
movant must show that: (1) her counsel’s representation fell below an objective
standard of reasonableness; and (2) there is a reasonable probability that, but for her
counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been
different. Id. at 687-88. The court need not “address both components of the inquiry
if the defendant makes an insufficient showing on one.” Id. at 697. This two part
standard is applicable to ineffective-assistance claims arising out of the plea process.
Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 57 (1985). With regard to the prejudice prong in the
context of a guilty plea, the defendant must show “that there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel’s errors, [s]he would not have pleaded guilty and
would have insisted on going to trial.” Id. at 59.
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, which governs procedures related to
entering a plea of guilty, does not afford a criminal defendant the right to be apprised
of her applicable Guidelines range or the actual sentence the defendant will receive.
Rule 11 only requires that the court inform the defendant of the applicable mandatory
minimum and maximum statutory sentences and of its obligation to calculate the
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applicable sentencing guideline range and to consider that range, possible departures,
and other sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(1);
see also commentary to Rule 11(c)(1) (indicating that a defendant should be informed
of the existence of the Guidelines but is not entitled to know what his Guidelines range
is prior to pleading guilty because a change of plea hearing takes place before the PSR
is formulated). Here, Tate’s signed plea agreement informed her of the applicable
mandatory and minimum statutory sentences for each of the counts that she pled
guilty to (doc. 31 at 2-4), and the Court complied with Rule 11 at Tate’s change of plea
hearing by advising her of the applicable statutory sentence as to each count that she
was pleading guilty to and confirming that she understood. (Doc. 159 at 15-18.)
Moreover, Tate initialed the page in her signed plea agreement in which she
confirmed that her counsel had explained to her the existence of the Guidelines and
their advisory nature, as follows:
Defendant’s counsel has explained to the defendant, that in light of the
United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, the
federal sentencing guidelines are advisory in nature. Sentencing is in the
court’s discretion and is no longer required to be within the guideline
range. The defendant agrees that, pursuant to this agreement, the court
may use facts it finds by a preponderance of the evidence to reach an
advisory guideline range, and defendant explicitly waives any right to
have those facts found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
(Doc. 31 at 22.) Additionally, at her change of plea hearing, the Court explained to
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Tate that her sentence would be imposed in consideration of the Guidelines, as
Another thing I need to make sure you do
understand is the range of punishment. There
is two ranges of punishment we are going to
talk about. One is the sentencing guidelines
range and the other is the statutory range.
The advisory guideline range is just that, it’s
advisory. I assume your lawyer has told you
what she anticipates, has she done that?
Yes she has.
I can tell you this. She might have it exactly
correct but again might have it incorrect.
Nobody can tell you what your guideline range
will end up being until we have your
sentencing hearing, do you understand that?
(Doc. 159 at 14-15.) The Court thus complied with Rule 11 by ensuring that Tate was
sufficiently informed of the consequences of her guilty plea. See United States v.
Mosley, 173 F.3d 1318, 1327 (11th Cir. 1999) (“When a defendant is informed of a
mandatory statutory sentence at his plea colloquy and sentenced within that range, .
. . the failure to advise of a Sentencing Guidelines sentencing range is harmless error
under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(h), as long as the defendant knew that
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the Sentencing Guidelines existed and that they would affect his sentence.”) (footnote
omitted); see also United States v. Stephens, 906 F.2d 251, 254 (6th Cir. 1990)
(“Because appellant was fully aware that his ultimate sentence under the agreement
was subject to later determination by the court based on a variety of factors at the time
he entered into it, the fact that he did not know specifically that he would be subject
to sentencing in [a particular] range does not mean that it was entered into
unknowingly and unintelligently.”). Under these circumstances, the alleged failure
of Tate’s lawyer to predict and inform her of which Guidelines enhancements would
be applied by the Court at sentencing does not establish that her lawyer’s
representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, as required for a
Strickland claim. See United States v. Smith, 143 F. App’x 559, 561 (5th Cir. 2005)
(rejecting claim by a defendant that his attorney’s failure to inform him of a potential
career offender enhancement rendered his plea involuntary). Habeas relief is not
warranted on this claim.
Tate’s claim that she was induced to enter a guilty plea by an alleged
threat related to her disabled son
Well over a year after pleading guilty, Tate alleges for the first time that she was
induced to enter the plea by a threat that her disabled son would be prosecuted if she
did not plead guilty. However, she fails to explain anywhere in her pleadings who
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made the alleged threat, in what manner it was communicated to her, or when it was
communicated to her.
“A guilty plea, if induced by promises or threats which deprive it of the
character of a voluntary act, is void. A conviction based upon such a plea is open to
collateral attack.” Machibroda v. United States, 368 U.S. 487, 493 (1962). At the same
time, plea bargaining retains its benefits of certainty and efficiency “only if
dispositions by guilty plea are accorded a great measure of finality.” Blackledge v.
Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 71 (1977). “[T]he representations of the defendant, his lawyer,
and the prosecutor at [a plea] hearing, as well as any findings made by the judge
accepting the plea, constitute a formidable barrier in any subsequent collateral
proceedings.” Id. at 73–74 (explaining that if the record reflects the procedures of
plea negotiation and includes a verbatim transcript of the plea colloquy, a petitioner
challenging her plea will be entitled to an evidentiary hearing “only in the most
extraordinary circumstances”). “The subsequent presentation of conclusory
allegations unsupported by specifics is subject to summary dismissal, as are
contentions that in the face of the record are wholly incredible.” Id. at 74.
At Tate’s change of plea hearing, the Court asked her if anyone had threatened
her or coerced her in any way to get her to plead guilty, to which she answered no.
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(Doc. 159 at 20.) The Court then asked her if anyone made her any promise other
than in the plea agreement to get her to plead guilty, to which she answered no. (Id.)
There is “a ‘strong presumption’ that statements made by the defendant during h[er]
plea colloquy are true.” United States v. Cardenas, 230 F. App’x 933, 935 (11th Cir.
2007) (citing United States v. Medlock, 12 F.3d 185, 187 (11th Cir. 1994)).
“[T]herefore, ‘when a defendant makes statements under oath at a plea colloquy,
[s]he bears a heavy burden to show h[er] statements were false.’ “ Id. (quoting United
States v. Rogers, 848 F.2d 166, 168 (11th Cir.1988)). Tate was placed under oath at the
beginning of her guilty plea proceeding before she was asked any questions by the
Court. Tate has made no attempt to explain how and why her guilty plea testimony
that she was not coerced should now be deemed false.
An evidentiary hearing is not required on frivolous claims, conclusory
allegations unsupported by specifics, or contentions that are wholly unsupported by
the record. Peoples v. Campbell, 377 F.3d 1208, 1237 (11th Cir. 2004). Tate is not
entitled to habeas relief on this claim.
Tate’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel related to the
amended judgment and final order of forfeiture
Tate alleges that she “was sentenced to a dollar amount that was found to not
be true and was later corrected. Had my attorney investigated, she would have been
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aware of this error and the money enhancement would have been lowered.” (Doc. 3
at 21.) Insofar as this claim alleges ineffective assistance of counsel, it is not barred by
her appeal waiver. Tate is presumably taking issue with the fact that the Court
corrected clerical errors in the judgment and final order of forfeiture some months
after they were entered. The restitution portion of the first judgment stated that Tate
owes $29,504.00 to Regions Bank; $28,634.33 to Wells Fargo; and $1981.37 to BBVA
Compass. It stated that Tate owes these amounts jointly and severally with any
convicted co-defendants. The judgment was corrected to specify that the total
amount of restitution owed to Wells Fargo Bank is $43,104.00, and that of that total
amount, Tate and the four co-defendants owe $28,634.33 jointly and severally, and the
four co-defendants (not including Tate) owe $14,469.67 jointly and severally. It was
also corrected to specify that the total amount of restitution owed to Regions Bank is
$29,504.00, and that of that total amount, Tate and the four co-defendants owe
$22,697.29 jointly and severally, and Tate and three out of the four co-defendants owe
$6,806.71 jointly and severally. Finally, it was corrected to specify that the $1981.37
owed to BBVA is owed jointly and severally by Tate and the four co-defendants.
None of the dollar amounts Tate owes in restitution was altered by these clerical
corrections. As to the final order of forfeiture, which imposed a money judgment
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against Tate in the amount of $60,119.70, it was corrected to impose that same money
judgment amount against Tate jointly and severally with the four other co-defendants,
and the judgment was amended to reflect that as well.
Tate’s claim fails for several reasons. First, one of the two requirements of the
Strickland test is to show that the defendant was prejudiced by the attorney’s
misconduct. 466 U.S. at 687. Tate cannot show that she was prejudiced by the fact
that her attorney did not discover these errors at an earlier time because she was not
subject to any changes in her sentence by the correction of these errors. Indeed, a
court cannot even correct a clerical error under Fed. R. Crim. P. 36 if the change
would “fundamentally alter [the defendant’s] sentence” by increasing the restitution
obligation. United States v. Portillo, 363 F.3d 1161, 1165 (11th Cir. 2004). In other
words, a clerical error contemplated by Rule 36 is by definition one that does not affect
a defendant’s sentence such that she would have to be re-sentenced. Second, Tate’s
argument that her 12-level enhancement based on a loss amount of over $200,000
would have somehow not been applicable had her attorney discovered these clerical
errors is misplaced. Tate stipulated to this loss amount in her plea agreement, long
before restitution amounts were even determined. (Doc. 31 at 15.) Indeed, she
stipulated to the fact that the face value of stolen checks and money orders recovered
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during the search her residence exceeded $236,000. (Id.) To the extent she is arguing
that based on the amount of restitution, the loss amount for Guidelines enhancement
purposes should be lower, the argument lacks merit because restitution and amount
of loss for the purposes of U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 are not the same. This is because a party
may suffer an actual pecuniary loss without seeking restitution. See United States v.
Smiley, 210 F. App’x 972, 975 (11th Cir. 2006) (“The fact that the [victims] did not
seek restitution does not mean they did not sustain an actual loss.”). Finally, to the
extent Tate is challenging the restitution amount, she is prohibited from doing so in
a § 2255 motion because relief from restitution is not a remedy authorized by the
statute. See Blaik v. United States, 161 F.3d 1341, 1342-43 (11th Cir. 1989). Habeas
relief is not warranted on this claim.
Tate’s claim that the Court erred under Alleyne v. United States, 133
S. Ct. 2151 (2013), by applying enhancements based on facts not
found by a jury
Tate’s final claim is that she was denied her Sixth Amendment right to a jury
trial because the enhancements applied to her sentence for her role in the offense, the
loss amount, and the number of victims were based on factors that were not charged
in the indictment, were not found beyond a reasonable doubt by the jury, and were not
admitted to by her.
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As an initial matter, Tate’s claim is foreclosed by the appeal waiver in her plea
agreement, as it does not fall into the limited exceptions contained therein. Tate was
neither sentenced in excess of the statutory maximum on any count nor was she
sentenced in excess of the applicable Guidelines range on any count. To the contrary,
the Court sentenced Tate to the low end of the Guidelines range on Counts 1, 2, and
3, and then granted a downward departure of twenty percent due to substantial
assistance on that sentence. Additionally, the Court chose to run the mandatory
statutory two-year sentences on Counts 7 and 9 concurrently with each other rather
than consecutively. In any event, the Court has already determined that Tate’s appeal
waiver was entered into knowingly and voluntarily. As such, the Court need not
consider this claim. See Bushert, 997 F.2d at 1350–51(appeal waivers entered into
knowingly and voluntarily are enforceable).
Additionally, even if Tate had not waived this claim, Alleyne does not apply to
her case. The Eleventh Circuit has explained why, as follows:
In Apprendi v. New Jersey, the Supreme Court held that a fact,
other than a prior conviction, that increases the maximum penalty for a
crime is an element of the crime that must be submitted to a jury. 530
U.S. 466, 490–91 (2000). In Alleyne, the Supreme Court extended
Apprendi’s holding to facts, other than a prior conviction, that increase
the mandatory minimum prescribed by a statute, while recognizing that
such facts are distinct from fact-findings that guide judicial discretion in
selecting a punishment within limits fixed by law. Alleyne, 133 S. Ct. at
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2161 & n.2. Indeed, the Supreme Court cautioned that its holding did
not disturb judicial fact findings at sentencing for facts that do not impact
the statutory punishment. See id. at 2163.
Accordingly, a district court may continue to make guidelines
calculations based upon judicial fact findings and may enhance a
sentence—so long as its findings do not increase the statutory maximum
or minimum authorized by facts determined in a guilty plea or jury
verdict. See United States v. McGarity, 669 F.3d 1218, 1257 (11th Cir.
2012) (concluding that under an advisory guidelines regime, judicial
fact-findings that support a sentence within the statutory maximum set
forth in the United States Code do not violate the Sixth Amendment);
United States v. Dean, 487 F.3d 840, 854 (11th Cir. 2007).
United States v. Charles, 757 F.3d 1222, 1225 (11th Cir. 2014).
As in Charles, the Court’s finding that Tate had a supervisory role in the
offense, that the offense had 50 or more victims, and that the loss amount was over
$200,000, affected Tate’s advisory Guidelines range but did not increase the statutory
minimum or maximum sentence for any of Tate’s convictions. Enhancing her
sentence based on this judicial fact-finding was therefore not Alleyne error.2
For the foregoing reasons, Tate’s § 2255 motion is due to be denied and this
action dismissed with prejudice.
Moreover, and as already noted, Tate’s signed plea agreement waives any right to have
the facts used to reach a Guidelines range found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. (Doc. 31 at
Page 20 of 21
This Court may issue a certificate of appealability “only if the applicant has a
made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.
2253(c)(2). To make such a showing, a “petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable
jurist would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
and wrong,” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000), or that “the issues
presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336 (2003) (internal quotations omitted). This Court finds
Tate’s claims do not satisfy either standard.
A separate order will be entered.
Done this 24th day of February 2015.
L. Scott Coogler
United States District Judge
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