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Wilson v. United States

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

July 19, 2018





         Movant, Elijah Wilson, filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Docket 1. The government moves to dismiss the petition for failure to state a claim. Docket 27. The case was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) for a report and recommendation. On January 2, 2018, Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy submitted her report and recommendation for disposition of this case to the court. Docket 47. Wilson objects to the proposed findings and recommendations under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). For the following reasons and after reviewing the objected maters de novo, the report and recommendation is adopted as supplemented by this opinion.


         A full factual background was provided by the magistrate judge in her report and recommendation. Docket 47. Thus, this court will only give a simple explanation and point to the magistrate judge's report and recommendation for the full background.

         On April 8, 2014, Wilson was charged with commercial sex trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591 and 1594(a). United States v. Wilson, CR 14-40038 (hereinafter “CR”), Docket 2. Wilson and the government reached a plea agreement. It required Wilson to enter a plea of guilty to a superseding information that charged Wilson with attempting to transport a minor for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2423(b) and (e). CR Docket 46 ¶ C. The court accepted Wilson's guilty plea. CR Docket 106 at 11. On July 16, 2015, the court sentenced Wilson to 46 months imprisonment and 5 years supervised release. CR Docket 74 and 76.

         Wilson filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence on March 30, 2017. Docket 1. In response, the government moved to dismiss Wilson's motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Docket 27.

         In her report and recommendation, Magistrate Judge Duffy recommends that the government's motion to dismiss be granted. Docket 47. Wilson timely filed objections to the report and recommendation. In his objection, Wilson alleges a misrepresentation of facts proving the charge, ineffective assistance of counsel, and a violation of his fifth amendment right of due process. Docket 51.


         Review of a magistrate judge's report and recommendation is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the court reviews de novo any objections that are timely made and specific. See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) (“The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to.”). Then the court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); United States v. Craft, 30 F.3d 1044, 1045 (8th Cir. 1994). The court is not obligated to review the portions of the report to which no objection was made. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985).


         I. Factual Objections

         Wilson raises seven objections to Magistrate Judge Duffy's report and recommendation. Docket 51. Wilson's first four objections are to factual conclusions in the report and recommendation that he believes are false. Id. ¶ 1-4. Wilson argues that the evidence does not show he “attempted or co[n]spired to commit the acts as d[e]scribed in 18 U.S.C. 2423(a) or (b).” Id. ¶ 2. The report and recommendation does not claim that Wilson engaged in a sexual act with any person. Rather, it accurately recounts Wilson's admission in the factual basis statement that states, “Wilson told officers he was attempting to hire the advertised females in order to transport them from South Dakota to a party which was to take place in Des Moines, Iowa.” CR Docket 47 at 2. This fact was affirmed during Wilson's change of plea hearing in court when Wilson admitted that he signed the factual basis statement and that the written facts were true. Id. A guilty plea is a solemn declaration in open court that a defendant in fact is guilty of the offense with which he is charged and it carries “a strong presumption of verity.” Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 74 (1977).

         Wilson contends that the description of the facts in his case preclude him from being guilty of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2423(b) and (e). Docket 51 ¶ 2. Wilson has not, however, offered any new evidence to contradict his signed statement of facts nor has he shown that “failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” Lawrence v. Branker, 517 F.3d 700, 714 (4th Cir. 2008) (quotation omitted). The fact-based ...

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