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United States v. Severson

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

December 1, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Nathan Paul Severson, Defendant Civil No. 14-2936(DSD)

For plaintiff: Laura M. Provinzino, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Minneapolis, MN.

Nathan Paul Severson, #16512-041, Pro se, Milan, MI.

ORDER

David S. Doty, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the court upon the pro se motions by defendant Nathan Paul Severson to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and for the turnover of property. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court denies the motions.

BACKGROUND

On July 18, 2012, Severson pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 2252(a) (2) and (b) (1). ECF No. 27. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Severson agreed to forfeit certain enumerated computer equipment and other property related to the offense. Id. ¶ 9. A preliminary order of forfeiture was entered on August 14, 2012. ECF No. 29.

On November 20, 2012, the court sentenced Severson to a term of imprisonment of 180 months, followed by a supervised release term of fifteen years. ECF No. 39. In the sentencing judgment, the court notified Severson of certain items to be forfeited. Id., at 6. On August 15, 2012, the government posted online a Notice of Criminal Forfeiture pertaining to Severson's property. See ECF No. 30. A final order of forfeiture was entered on December 4, 2012. ECF No. 42. Severson did not appeal his sentence.

Other property belonging to Severson was administratively forfeited. See Provinzino Decl. Ex. 1. On January 14, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized items related to the offense. See id. On January 20, 2011, Severson received a certified letter notifying him of the forfeiture and explaining how he could file an objection or appeal. Id. Severson did not contest the forfeiture at that time.

On July 16, 2014, Severson filed a motion under § 2255, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. Severson also filed a motion for turnover of the forfeited property. The government now moves to dismiss the motions.

DISCUSSION

I. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

Section 2255 provides a federal inmate with a limited opportunity to challenge the constitutionality, legality, or jurisdictional basis of a sentence imposed by the court. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This collateral relief is an extraordinary remedy, reserved for violations of constitutional rights that could not have been raised on direct appeal. United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996). When considering a § 2255 motion, a court must generally hold an evidentiary hearing. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). A hearing is not required, however, when " (1) the petitioner's allegations, accepted as true, would not entitle the petitioner to relief, or (2) the allegations cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact." Sanders v. United States, 341 F.3d 720, 722 (8th Cir. 2003) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Here, no hearing is required.

Severson argues that relief under ยง 2255 is warranted based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, Severson argues that his attorney failed to (1) properly argue that his addiction to pornography and success in seeking treatment warranted a reduced sentence, (2) present to the court and probation officer a psychologist's report evaluating his addiction and treatment, and (3) appeal his sentence even though he requested that an appeal be filed. Even if the court ...


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