United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on two Recommended Dispositions
filed by United States Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram. The
Defendant, Doyle Fritts, first filed a pro se motion
to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [R.
290.] Judge Ingram reviewed the motion, and prepared a
Recommended Disposition. [R. 307.] Mr. Fritts filed
objections to this Recommendation. [R. 310.] Shortly after,
Mr. Fritts filed another pro se motion to vacate his
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [R. 313.] Judge Ingram
prepared a Supplemental Recommended Disposition for Mr.
Fritts' second motion. [R. 316.] Mr. Fritts did not file
any objections to Judge Ingram's Supplemental Recommended
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2), a petitioner has
fourteen days after service to register any objections to the
Recommended Disposition or else waive his rights to appeal.
In order to receive de novo review by this Court,
any objection to the recommended disposition must be
specific. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th
Cir. 1986). A specific objection “explain[s] and
cite[s] specific portions of the report which [counsel]
deem[s] problematic.” Robert v. Tesson, 507
F.3d 981, 994 (6th Cir. 2007). A general objection that fails
to identify specific factual or legal issues from the
recommendation, however, is not permitted, since it
duplicates the Magistrate's efforts and wastes judicial
economy. Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991). When no
objections are made, however, this Court is not required to
“review . . . a magistrate's factual or legal
conclusions, under a de novo or any other standard . . .
.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985).
Parties who fail to object to a Magistrate's report and
recommendation are also barred from appealing a district
court's order adopting that report and recommendation.
United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir.
Fritts filed timely objections to the initial Recommended
Disposition. [R. 310.] The Court acknowledges its duty to
review Mr. Fritts's filings under a more lenient standard
than the one applied to attorneys because he is proceeding
pro se. See Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 84-85
(6th Cir. 1985). Under this more lenient construction, the
objections are sufficiently definite to trigger the
Court's obligation to conduct a de novo review.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). The Court has
satisfied that duty, reviewing the entire record, including
the pleadings, the parties' arguments, relevant case law
and statutory authority, as well as applicable procedural
rules. For the following reasons, Mr. Fritts's objections
will be OVERRULED. However, because Mr.
Fritts failed to make timely objections to Judge Ingram's
Supplemental Recommended Disposition, this Court is not
obligated to conduct a de novo review, and the
Supplemental Recommended Disposition will be
Fritts also recently filed a letter with this Court,
requesting a review of his motions under § 2255. [R.
326.] In this letter, Mr. Fritts does not indicate any
additional grounds for relief other than those already
addressed in his 2015 and 2016 motions. Id. To the
extent that this letter could be construed as a motion, it
will be DENIED AS MOOT.
Ingram sets forth the factual and procedural background of
the case in his initial Recommended Disposition. The Court
mentions only key facts to frame its discussion and analysis,
incorporating Judge Ingram's discussion of the record
into this Order.
Fritts was charged with two counts of conspiracy to
distribute a quantity of pills containing oxycodone, one
count aiding and abetting distribution of a quantity of pills
containing oxycodone, one count possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon, and one count obstruction of justice. [R.
140.] The Court appointed Eric Edwards as counsel for Mr.
Fritts, pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act. [R. 2.] A jury
found Mr. Fritts guilty of the three counts related to the
distribution of oxycodone, as well as guilty of possession of
a firearm by a convicted felon, but acquitted him on
obstruction of justice. [R. 202.] Based on an offense level
of twenty-eight and a criminal history category of VI, Mr.
Fritts's Guidelines Range was 140 to 175 months
imprisonment. [R. 254.] This Court sentenced him to 180
months each as to the three charges relating to oxycodone
distribution and 120 months as to the possession of a
firearm, all to run concurrently for a total of 180 months.
Fritts appealed, and on February 27, 2014, the United States
Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. [R. 270.] He did
not petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of
the United States. [R. 307 at 3.] On May 26, 2015, Mr. Fritts
filed his first Motion to Vacate pursuant to § 2255,
alleging four claims relating to ineffective assistance of
counsel. [R. 290-1.] On December 10, 2015, Judge Ingram
issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending all four of
Mr. Fritts's claims be denied and finding that an
evidentiary hearing was not required. [R. 307.] Mr. Fritts
objected to that Recommendation. [R. 310.] Several months
later, on June 30, 2016, Mr. Fritts filed a second Motion to
Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, this time alleging he
should not have received “a 4-point inhancement
[sic]” pursuant to Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 251 (2015) and Welch v. United States, 136
S.Ct. 1257 (2016). [R. 313.] Judge Ingram found that neither
Johnson nor Welch applied to Mr. Fritts and
issued a Supplemental Recommended Disposition, recommending
this Court deny Mr. Fritts's June 30, 2016 Motion. [R.
316.] Mr. Fritts did not object to the Supplemental
Recommendation. Since filing his initial § 2255 motion,
Mr. Fritts has submitted numerous letters to this Court,
requesting consideration of his claims. [R. 311; R. 319; R.
321; R. 326; R. 328; R. 329.]
Mr. Fritts's initial Motion to Vacate [R. 290], filed on
June 2, 2015, Judge Ingram outlined Mr. Fritts's four
claims as follows:
(1) Ineffective assistance of Counsel during Plea
Negotiations which caused Defendant to Reject the
Government's Plea Offer.
(2) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for Failing to Advise
Defendant of possibility of entering an Open Plea.
(3) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for Filing to Object to
the Inclusion of Convictions too old to be used in