Willoughby v. USA
ORDER dismissing without prejudice as successive 1 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence (2255). Court declines to issue a Certificate of Appealability. Signed by Chief Judge Frank D. Whitney on 9/17/2013. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(eef)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
WALTER HAYWOOD WILLOUGHBY,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on an initial review of Petitioner’s motion to vacate,
set aside or correct sentence, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. No response is necessary from
On October 26, 1999, Petitioner and others were convicted within the Western District of
a drug conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. In particular, the jury found that Petitioner and
others possessed cocaine with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine within 1,000 feet of
a protected area such as a school or playground, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 860. Petitioner was
later sentenced to a maximum term of 30-years’ imprisonment and he noted an appeal to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In an unpublished, per curiam opinion, the
Fourth Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence. United States v. Willoughby, 39 Fed. App’x
28 (4th Cir. 2002).1 On February 24, 2003, the Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of
certiorari. Willoughby v. United States, 537 U.S. 1195 (2002).
The Fourth Circuit denied his petition for rehearing en banc. United States v. Willoughby, 41 Fed. App’x 602 (4th
Next, Petitioner opened a campaign of collateral attacks on his judgment through motions
filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See, e.g., (Civil Case Nos. 3:04-cv-111 (§ 2255 motion
dismissed as untimely); 3:99-cr-24, Doc. No. 519 (order dismissing Petitioner’s “Pro se Motion
for Writ of Error Audita Querela” after finding that it was, in fact, and unauthorized, successive
§ 2255 motion); 3:12-cv-375 (Court dismissed what it concluded was a third § 2255 motion, and
a second, unauthorized § 2255 motion under § 2255(h)).
On August 29, 2013, the clerk docketed another motion from Petitioner which seeks to
attack his criminal judgment. On September 3, 2013, the case was assigned to this Court. In this
§ 2255 motion, Petitioner contends that his Sixth Amendment right to have a jury determine
issues regarding his guilt and sentence was violated because the Court impermissibly found
certain facts related to the drug amount attributable to him, rather than submitting the question of
drug quantity to the jury to resolve beyond a reasonable doubt.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pursuant to Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, sentencing
courts are directed to promptly examine motions to vacate, along with “any attached exhibits and
the record of prior proceedings” in order to determine whether a petitioner is entitled to any
relief. After having considered the record in this matter, the Court finds that no response is
necessary from the United States. Further, the Court finds that this matter can be resolved
without an evidentiary hearing. See Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th Cir. 1970).
Petitioner contends that this Court can reach the merits of his § 2255 motion because of
the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alleyne v. United States,133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013). In
Alleyne, the Court overruled its decision in Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545 (2002), and
held that any fact that might increase a mandatory minimum sentence must either by admitted by
the defendant or found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Petitioner’s argument for relief in the present case rests on the assumption that the
Alleyne Court made its decision retroactive to cases on collateral review, and second, that his §
2255 motion is timely under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3) because it was filed within one year of the
date the Supreme Court decided Alleyne. This argument fails in two respects.
First, courts that have considered the retroactive nature of Alleyne have concluded that it
is not. See Simpson v. United States, 721 F.3d 875, 876 (7th Cir. 2013) (finding that “Alleyne is
an extension of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). Justices have decided that other
rules based on Apprendi do not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review.”) (internal
citations omitted); United States v. Condra, 2013 WL 4678165, at *2 n.4 (W.D. Va. Aug. 30,
2013) (citing Simpson, supra and noting that the Supreme Court made no declaration that its
decision in Alleyne was to apply retroactively to cases on collateral review.).
Second, Petitioner’s reliance on § 2255(f)(3) is misplaced. This provision relates to the
timeliness of a § 2255 motion, and provides that the motion must be filed within one year of the
date the Supreme Court recognizes a new right, and after that right has been “made retroactively
applicable to cases on collateral review.” Id. Although Petitioner did file his motion within one
year from the date that Supreme Court decided Alleyne, that fact cannot serve to authorize this
Court to consider the merits, if any, of Petitioner’s § 2255 motion. In short, timeliness is not the
issue which this Court must address when deciding whether the present motion is permissible.
As noted, Petitioner has filed three § 2255 motions which have been dismissed by this
Court. The first was dismissed as untimely and the second two motions were dismissed as
unauthorized, successive motions pursuant to § 2255(h).
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) provides, in relevant part,
that “[a] second or successive motion [under Section 2255] must be certified as provided in
Section 2244 by a panel of the appropriate court of appeals to contain—
(1) newly discovered evidence that, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence
as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence
that no reasonable factfinder would have found the movant guilty of the
(2) a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral
review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(h).
Petitioner has provided no evidence that he has secured this necessary authorization from
the Fourth Circuit, therefore this Court is without jurisdiction to consider the merits of a
successive petition under Section 2255. See In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194-95 (4th Cir. 1997)
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that for the reasons stated herein, Petitioner’s
Section 2255 motion is DISMISSED without prejudice as successive. (Doc. No. 1).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing
Section 2255 Cases, this Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability as Petitioner has not
made a substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); MillerEl v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003) (stating that in order to satisfy § 2253(c), a
petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of
the constitutional claims debatable or wrong); Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 474, 484 (2000)
(holding that when relief is denied on procedural grounds, a petitioner must establish both that
the correctness of the dispositive procedural ruling is debatable and that the petition states a
debatably valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right).
The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to close this civil case.
Signed: September 17, 2013
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?