US v. Germaine Cannady, No. 20-6906 (4th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed the district court’s dismissal of his motion for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255. A jury found Defendant guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, as well as one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. At sentencing, the district court deemed these offenses “controlled substance offense[s]” under Sections 4B1.1 and 4B1.2—the career offender provisions—of the Sentencing Guidelines. Defendant also had past convictions for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section 846 and assault. The district court considered the former to be a controlled substance offense and the latter to be a crime of violence under the career offender provisions. The district court applied the career offender enhancement to his sentence. While Defendant’s appeal was pending, he moved for a new trial based on newly discovered. The district court granted the motion, and the government appealed. On remand, the government moved to reinstate the judgment of conviction and Defendant’s sentence, to which Defendant’s counsel consented. Defendant now argues that, on remand, his counsel rendered ineffective assistance.
The Fourth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case to the district court for resentencing. The court held that Defendant’s counsel rendered deficient performance by failing to make this objection. This failure resulted in prejudice to Defendant, whose 16-year sentence far exceeded the high end of what the Guidelines range would have been without the career offender enhancement.