Batts v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION. Signed by Judge L Scott Coogler on 10/18/2017. (PSM)
2017 Oct-18 PM 03:17
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Cadrious Batts (“Batts”) has filed with the Clerk of this Court a motion to
vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Docs. 1 & 6.) The Government
opposes the motion. (Doc. 8.) For the following reasons, the motion is due to be
On October 8, 2014, Batts pled guilty to two counts of armed bank robbery,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d), and one count of brandishing a firearm
during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
On February 12, 2015, this Court sentenced him to concurrent
terms of 156 months of imprisonment for the armed robbery counts, and a
consecutive term of 84 months for his Section 924(c) count. Batts appealed,
challenging the procedural and substantive reasonableness of his sentence, but the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence on October 16, 2015. He
filed this, his first § 2255 motion, on June 28, 2016.
Batts first suggests that his Section 924(c) conviction and sentence have
been invalidated by the Supreme Court’s decisions in Johnson v. United States, 135
S. Ct. 2551 (2015), and Welch v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1257 (2016). In Johnson,
the Supreme Court declared that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal
Act’s definition of “violent felony”, see 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is void for
vagueness, and Welch held that Johnson was retroactively applicable on collateral
Neither decision helps Batts, however. The Eleventh Circuit has held that
armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d) remains a “crime of
violence” even after Johnson because the offense requires the use of physical force
against the person or property of another, and nothing about Johnson invalidated
the definition of “crime of violence” contained in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3), applicable
to offenses with an element of “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of
physical force against the person or property of another.” See In re Hines, 824 F.3d
1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2016). Accordingly, Batts’ attempt to raise a “Johnson” claim
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Batts makes two vague and conclusory allegations of ineffective assistance of
counsel. First, he contends that:
The Counsel for the defendant provided false information in light of
the indictment process. The attorney failed to look at evidence, which
might have made a difference towards the sentence of the defendant.
The defendant asked numerous times about the procedure, but was
(Doc. 6 at 5.) Second, he also claims that:
The Counsel on file for the defendant failed to consult with defendant
on the terms of accepting a plea. The Counsel on file failed to provide
the defendant substa[ntial] time to discuss the terms of accepting a
plea deal instead of a trial. This would have impacted the choice the
defendant made in terms of accepting a plea.
(Doc. 6 at 7.) Batts provides no further supporting facts.
To demonstrate ineffective assistance, Batts must allege both that his
attorney rendered deficient performance, and that he suffered prejudice as a result.
See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984). Both of his claims,
however, are merely “[c]onclusory allegations of ineffective assistance” which
“are insufficient” to warrant relief. Wilson v. United States, 962 F.2d 996, 998 (11th
Cir. 1992) (per curiam). With respect to his allegations about “the indictment
process,” Batts does not specify what “false information” his counsel provided, or
what “evidence” his counsel purportedly failed to consider. Nor does he show how
the purported misconduct would have affected his sentencing, or otherwise how he
With respect to his allegations about his plea, Batts does not explain what
information his counsel failed to disclose that would have convinced him to go to
trial. In addition, his vague claim of ineffective assistance is contradicted by his
sworn statements made to this Court during his plea colloquy. Batts told this Court
that: his attorney did “a good job” and he had no complaints about the level of
representation; the two discussed the charges and Batts understood them; and they
discussed the plea agreement. Doc. 67 at 4, 5, and 13, in United States v. Batts, 7:14cr-00248-LSC-TMP-1. Moreover, this Court informed Batts about the nature of
the charges against him, the rights he would waive by pleading guilty, and the
possible range of penalties he faced. Id. at 6-13. Batts said that he understood the
Court’s explanations and chose to plead guilty of his own free will and because he
was, in fact, guilty of the charged crimes. Id. at 6-16. “There is a strong
presumption that the statements made during the [plea] colloquy are true.” United
States v. Medlock, 12 F.3d 185, 187 (11th Cir. 1994). “[W]hen a defendant makes
statements under oath at a plea colloquy, he bears a heavy burden to show his
statements were false.” United States v. Rogers, 848 F.2d 166, 168 (11th Cir. 1988).
Batts’ vague allegations in his § 2255 motion are insufficient to meet that heavy
For the foregoing reasons, Batts’ § 2255 motion is due to be denied.
Additionally, 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 that Batts’ claims do not satisfy either
standard. Accordingly, insofar as an application for a certificate of appealability is
implicit in Batts’ motion, it is due to be denied.
A separate closing order will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED on October 18, 2017.
L. Scott Coogler
United States District Judge
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