Dudley v. USA
ORDER dismissing as successive Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence (2255). Petr's 2 Motion to Amend is denied. Court declines to issue a Certificate of Appealability. Signed by District Judge Richard Voorhees on 10/9/2013. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(cbb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
SEAN LAMONT DUDLEY,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on consideration of what Petitioner has labeled as a
motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that the motion for relief must be construed as a
motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence, pursuant to the provisions 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and
it will be dismissed.
On February 23, 1998, Petitioner was sentenced to 360-months’ imprisonment for
conviction on two counts charged in an indictment returned by the Grand Jury for the Western
District. In Count One, Petitioner was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) & 846, and Count Two charged
Petitioner with aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute the cocaine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) & 18 U.S.C. § 2. (5:97-CR-00001, Doc. No. 72: Judgment in a
Criminal Case; Doc. No. 109: Presentence Investigation Report (PSR ¶ at 1).
Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit. On October 29, 1998, the Court filed an unpublished decision upholding
Petitioner’s conviction and sentence. United States v. Dudley, No. 98-4166 (4th Cir. filed Oct.
29, 1998) (unpublished).
On September 27, 1999, Petitioner filed a Section 2255 motion to vacate. After
considering the arguments advanced by the Petitioner and the Government, the Court found
Petitioner had failed to present any meritorious claims and therefore his motion was denied and
dismissed. (5:99-CV-00152-RLV, Doc. No. 24: Order filed Mar. 27, 2002). Petitioner’s appeal
was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit. Dudley v. United States, No. 02-6735 (4th Cir. filed Sept.
On August 7, 2006, the Court declined Petitioner’s offer to reconsider the Order denying
relief under § 2255, and dismissed the motion as an unauthorized, successive § 2255 motion.
(Doc. No. 35). On October 11, 2006, the Fourth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for a
rehearing. In Re: Sean Lamont Dudley, No. 06-6452 (4th Cir. Oct. 11, 2006) (unpublished).
(Doc. No. 36).
On October 16, 2006, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal from this Court’s August 7,
2006, Order denying his motion to reconsider as an unauthorized, successive § 2255 motion.
(Doc. No. 37). On February 23, 2007, the Fourth Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. United
States v. Dudley, No. 06-7832 (4th Cir. Feb. 23, 2007). On May 11, 2007, the Fourth Circuit
denied Petitioner’s petition for a rehearing, and the Fourth Court denied Petitioner’s appeal from
this Court’s order denying his motion for recusal. In Re: Sean Lamont Dudley, No. 08-1097 (4th
Cir. May 28, 2008) (unpublished).
Next, on January 30, 2012, Petitioner returned to this Court and renewed his collateral
efforts to challenge his sentence through the filing of various motions for reconsideration of the
trial court’s decision denying and dismissing his Section 2255 motion. (Doc. Nos. 58-60).
Through these motions, Petitioner argued that a recent case from the Fourth Circuit—United
States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237 (4th Cir. 2011) (en banc)—entitled him to relief from his
sentence which was meted out over fourteen (14) years earlier. The Court denied relief and
dismissed the § 2255 motion. Petitioner appealed. The Fourth Circuit dismissed his appeal in a
per curiam decision after noting that Petitioner’s motion for relief in the district court, while
styled as a Rule 60(b) motion, was in actuality an unauthorized, successive motion under §
2255(h). United States, No. 12-7927 (4th Cir. Mar. 1, 2013) (unpublished). On May 6, 2013, the
Fourth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for a rehearing. (Doc. No. 67).
On September 18, 2013, Petitioner filed still another motion which he contends is for
relief from judgment under the provisions of Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Petitioner contends that there was “a legal defect inherent [in] the collateral proceeding.” (5:13CV-00132, Doc. No. 1 at 1). Petitioner renews his attack on the legality of his sentence and the
validity of his career offender designation, and again cites Simmons, among other cases, in
support of his claim for relief.1
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
Petitioner has also filed a motion to amend his present pleading contending that the motion should be granted
because the Fourth Circuit has filed “new case law” that entitles him to habeas relief. The motion to amend will be
denied as futile for the reasons set forth below; namely, because this Court is without jurisdiction to entertain the
merits of a successive, § 2255 petition.
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).
The relief Petitioner is seeking through a Rule 60(b) motion—an order vacating his
sentence—is the same relief that he could obtain through a successful § 2255 proceeding. That
he may label his motion as one filed pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure is of no moment. The district courts are instructed to “classify pro se pleadings from
prisoners according to their contents, without regard to their captions.” United States v.
Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Emmanuel, 288 F.3d 644,
647 (4th Cir. 2002)). Petitioner’s efforts to characterize his attack on his sentence as a Rule 59(e)
or Rule 60(b) motion must fail. Winestock, 340 F.3d at 205.
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).
There is no evidence that Petitioner has obtained the necessary authorization to file the
instant motion, which this Court construes as a successive application under § 2255. The Court is
therefore without jurisdiction to consider the merits, if any, of the present action. See, e.g, In re
Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 (4th Cir. 1997); Winestock, 340 F.3d at 205.
For the reasons stated herein, Petitioner’s Section 2255 motion will be dismissed without
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Petitioner’s Section 2255 Motion be
DISMISSED as successive. (Doc. No. 1).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner’s motion to amend is DENIED. (Doc. No.
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).
Signed: October 9, 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?