United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
WILLIAM I. ARBUCKLE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
William Williams (“Petitioner”), a former federal
prisoner now in Pennsylvania-state custody, proceeding
pro se, filed a habeas corpus petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2255, challenging his federal court
convictions. Petitioner argues that because of his mental
infirmity, his guilty plea was not voluntary. For the reasons
explained below, I recommend that this Petition (Doc. 1) be
TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Texas for consideration as a motion to
vacate sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 22, 2011, Petitioner pled guilty to being a felon
in possession of a firearm in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Id. at p.
1. On February 1, 2012, Petitioner was sentenced to
forty-three (43) months imprisonment, followed by three (3)
years of supervised release. Id. Petitioner did not
appeal his judgment of conviction or sentence. (Doc. 8, p.
was released from BOP custody on November 2, 2016. (Doc. 8-2,
p. 17). On November 23, 2018, Petitioner filed a Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1). On September 12, 2019,
Respondent filed a Response (Doc. 8). On September 24, 2019,
Petitioner filed a Traverse (Doc. 9).
Petition, Petitioner argues that because he was
intellectually disabled and based on his attorney's
conduct, his guilty plea was not voluntary. Id. at
pp. 4-7. Specifically, Petitioner's Ground One, Ground
Two, and Ground Three in his habeas petition state:
42 U.S.C. §§ 10801, et seq., §§ 12101, et
seq., and §§ 12131, et seq.; and the denial of the
assistance of counsel, due process of law, and equal
protection of the law under the Sixth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Constitution.
alleges different facts for each of the grounds in his
Petition. As facts to support Ground One, Petitioner
At the time of the alleged offense, [Petitioner] was mentally
ill and disabled, and mentally incompetent/insane, as
indicated by the fact that the offense originated out of a
suicide attempt (covered by news media in Beaumont, TX), and
followed by a second suicide attempt a week later in jail.
Throughout [Petitioner's] pretrial detention, and at time
of [Petitioner's] guilty plea, [Petitioner] continued to
be mentally ill and disabled, and mentally
incompetent/insane, and was not competent to have entered a
guilty plea in this matter. [Petitioner's] plea was
neither voluntary, nor knowing and intelligent within the
meaning of the law.
Id. at p. 4.
support of Ground Two, Petitioner provides the following
Counsel failed to inform the trial court of
[Petitioner's] mental illness and disability, and
likelihood of incompetency/insanity, and counsel did not
request a psychiatric evaluation or competency hearing, prior
to advising ...