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United States v. Carlton

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

November 20, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles William Carlton, Defendant. Charles William Carlton, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          ORDER DISMISSING MOTION TO VACATE UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255, DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL, AND DENYING MOTION FOR HEARING

          PETER D. WELTE, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court is Defendant Charles William Carlton's pro se “Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241” filed on September 30, 2019. See Doc. No. 313. On October 3, 2019, the Court ordered the Clerk of Court to reclassify the motion as a motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Order to Reclassify Motion, Carlton v. United States, No. 3:19-cv-216 (D.N.D. Oct. 3, 2019), ECF No. 4. Carlton also moves for the appointment of counsel and for an evidentiary hearing. See Doc. No. 316. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to vacate is dismissed, and the motions for counsel and a hearing are denied as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Because the Court is not addressing the merits of Carlton's motion, only a brief synopsis of the facts of the underlying offense is necessary. On March 10, 2014, Carlton pled guilty to (1) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribute Controlled Substances and Controlled Substance Analogues Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Death (Count 1 of the Indictment); (2) Conspiracy to Cause the Introduction of a Misbranded Drug into Interstate Commerce (Count 3 of the Indictment); and (3) Money Laundering Conspiracy to Conceal and Disguise the Nature, Location, Ownership, and Control of Proceeds of Specified Unlawful Activity (Count 1 of the Information). Doc. No. 178. Carlton had “used an internet based business named Motion Resources LLC, . . . located in Houston, Texas, to facilitate the unlawful importation of controlled substance analogues from various countries, ” which he and the company would “then unlawfully distribute[] all over the United States.” Doc. No. 175, p. 14. According to the factual basis in the plea agreement, the distribution of N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-4-iodo-2, 5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, also known as 2C-I-NBOMe or 25I-NBOMe, resulted in the following deaths and serious bodily injury:

(1) The death of C.A.B. in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on June 11, 2012;
(2) Serious bodily injury to C.L.J. in Grand Forks on June 11, 2012; and
(3) The death of E.R.S. in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, on June 13, 2012.[1]

Doc. No. 175, p. 7. On August 28, 2014, Carlton was sentenced to concurrent terms of 246 months' imprisonment on Count 1 of the Indictment, 36 months' imprisonment on Count 3 of the Indictment, and 240 months' imprisonment on Count 1 of the Information. Doc. No. 241. Carlton did not appeal within fourteen days of the entry of judgment (September 3, 2014).

         More important to the Court's analysis in this order is what has transpired since the judgment became final, as this is not the first § 2255 motion that Carlton has filed. On August 17, 2015, Carlton filed a § 2255 motion raising several claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Doc. No. 257. The United States filed a 61-page response in opposition on April 18, 2016. Doc. No. 288. On August 30, 2016, Carlton moved to withdraw his § 2255 motion pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. No. 290. The motion stated, “Counsel and Mr. Carlton have had numerous discussions regarding his Motion to Vacate and his decision to withdraw. Mr. Carlton is aware of the consequences of withdrawing his motion and the time limits for filing motions pursuant to § 2255.” Id.

         In an attached affidavit, Carlton stated in relevant part:

2. Mr. Vickers and I have had numerous conversations regarding my rights and the facts regarding my § 2255 claim and I am satisfied with Mr. Vickers' representation.
3. Although sometimes difficult to set up communication, over the past year Mr. Vickers and I have reviewed the applicable law, the facts of the case, and I have reviewed a brief Mr. Vickers drafted in Reply to the Government's Response to my § 2255 motion.
4. I have discussed my right to continue forward in this process and the consequences of withdrawing my motion.
5. After much consideration and upon the advice of my counsel Mr. Vickers I am requesting the court withdraw my Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or ...

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