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United States v. Ingram

United States District Court, District of Columbia

December 4, 2012

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Ralph Bernard INGRAM, Defendant. Criminal Action No. 06-21-02 (RBW).

Ralph Bernard Ingram, pro se.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

REGGIE B. WALTON, District Judge.

Ralph Bernard Ingram, the defendant in this criminal case, pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess

Page 2

with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine, Cocaine Base, Phencyclidine (" PCP" ), and Marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (2006). ECF No. 182 at 1. The Court then sentenced him to thirteen years' imprisonment and five years' supervised release. ECF No. 210 at 2-3. Currently before the Court is Ingram's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3) to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (" Def.'s Mot." ), which the government opposes, see United States' Opposition to Defendant's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3) to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (" Gov't's Opp'n" ). Upon careful consideration of the parties' submissions and the entire record in this case, the Court concludes for the following reasons that Ingram's motion must be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Ingram was arrested on January 26, 2006, during the execution of a search warrant at an apartment located in Washington, D.C. Gov't's Opp'n at 4. As a result of this search, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (" FBI" ) recovered " over 50 grams of cocaine base (crack), cocaine, heroin, scales, crack cocaine residue, and firearms." Id. The FBI agents found over 80 bags of crack on Ingram's person. Id. Ingram also had in his possession a key to a minivan that the FBI later discovered contained " illegal contraband and narcotics trafficking paraphernalia." Id.

On August 23, 2006, Ingram was charged in a Superseding Indictment, along with seven other named defendants, with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With Intent to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine, Cocaine Base, Phencyclidine and Cannabis, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 occurring from 2002 to January 2006 in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, California, and elsewhere. See ECF No. 30. Ingram and the government subsequently entered into a plea agreement, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C), which provided for a stipulated period of incarceration of thirteen years (156 months). ECF No. 182 at 2. On April 29, 2008, Ingram pleaded guilty to Count One of the Superseding Indictment. Id. at 1.

The Presentence Investigation Report (" PSI Report" ) calculated Ingram's base offense level at 34 based on the quantity of drugs he possessed, added two points for the possession of firearms, and deducted three points for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total offense level of 33. See PSI Report at 8. The PSI Report accorded Ingram a criminal history category of IV because (1) he had three prior convictions (two drug offenses and one attempted robbery offense), resulting in a subtotal criminal history score of 6; (2) he was under supervised release at the time he committed the offense in this case, which added two points to his criminal history category; and (3) he committed the offense in this case less than two years after his release from imprisonment, which added one point to his criminal history category. See id. at 10-14. Ingram's total criminal history score of 9 established a criminal history category IV under the then-applicable Sentencing Guidelines (" Guidelines" ). Id. at 14. With a total offense level of 33 and a criminal history category of IV, Ingram's Guideline range was 188 to 235 months' incarceration. Id. at 26.

On July 17, 2008, the Court sentenced Ingram to thirteen years' (156 months) imprisonment and five years' supervised release. See ECF Nos. 210, 211. Although the Court adopted the PSI Report's findings without change, it departed from the Guideline range of 188 to 235

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months' incarceration and instead sentenced Ingram in accordance with the parties' Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement. ECF No. 211 at 1-2. Ingram did not appeal his conviction and sentence.

In November 2011, the United States Sentencing Commission promulgated Amendment 750 to the Guidelines. Among other things, Amendment 750 lowered the base offense levels for crack cocaine offenses. See U.S.S.G. app. C, amend. 750 (Nov. 2011); see U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(3) (Nov.2011). The Sentencing Commission agreed that this part of Amendment 750 would become retroactive effective November 1, 2011. See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(c).

Ingram has now moved to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. Liberally construing his pro se motion, Ingram appears to assert that he is entitled to post-conviction relief on two grounds: (1) his sentence was unlawfully enhanced based on his prior felony drug convictions, and (2) his sentence should be reduced based on Amendment 750. See Def.'s Mot. at 5-12.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Timeliness of Ingram's Unlawful Sentence Enhancement Claim

The Court construes Ingram's unlawful sentence enhancement claim as being asserted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which permits a person in custody under sentence by a federal court to " move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence," on the grounds that " the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). If the reviewing court finds that any of these grounds exist, it " shall ...


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