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United States v. Estrada

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JUAN MANUEL CRISTERNA ESTRADA, Defendant.

          Charles J. Kovats, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, for plaintiff.

          Juan Manuel Cristerna Estrada, Reg. No. 15361-041 pro se defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM Chief Judge United States District Court

         On February 15, 2011, Defendant Juan Manuel Cristerna Estrada pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and 846. (Plea Agreement & Sentencing Stipulations at 1, Feb. 15, 2011, Docket No. 141; Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”) at 1.) The Court entered judgment on October 11, 2011, imposing a sentence of 105 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. (Sentencing J. at 2-3, Oct. 25, 2011, Docket No. 168.) On June 20, 2016, Estrada filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 relying on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). (Estrada's Mot. to Vacate, June 20, 2016, Docket No. 201.) Because Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551, does not entitle Estrada to any relief under § 2255, the Court will deny the motion.

         I. SECTION 2255

         Section 2255(a) permits a prisoner to move the court that sentenced him to “vacate, set aside or correct the sentence” on the grounds that “the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack.” Such relief “is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and, if uncorrected, would result in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Walking Eagle v. United States, 742 F.3d 1079, 1081-82 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996)).

         Estrada argues that Johnson provides a basis for this Court to correct his sentence. In Johnson, the Supreme Court considered the “residual clause” of the definition of “violent felony” within the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924. 135 S.Ct. at 2555. The residual clause provides that a violent felony includes a crime that “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Supreme Court found the residual clause unconstitutionally vague and thus held an enhanced sentence under the residual clause is unconstitutional. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2557-58 (interpreting § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii)).

         Estrada's reliance on Johnson is misplaced, as the Court did not impose an enhanced sentence under the ACCA's residual clause.[1] Indeed, Estrada did not have any previous convictions to justify applying a sentencing enhancement under the ACCA. (PSR at 7 (noting Estrada had zero criminal history points).) Although Estrada appears to believe that based on the PSR, he “received a two-level increase” for possessing a firearm, (Estrada's Mot. to Vacate at 5), the Court did not apply the increase at Estrada's sentencing. Thus, as Johnson does not apply to this case, the Court will deny the § 2255 motion.[2]

         II. CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

         The Court may grant a Certificate of Appealability only where the movant “has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). The movant must show that “the issues are debatable among reasonable jurists, a court could resolve the issues differently, or the issues deserve further proceedings.” Flieger v. Delo, 16 F.3d 878, 883 (8th Cir. 1994). For purposes of appeal under § 2253, the Court finds that Estrada has not shown that reasonable jurists would find the issues raised in the § 2255 motion debatable, that some other court would resolve the issues differently, or that the issues deserve further proceedings. Therefore, the Court declines to grant a Certificate of Appealability.

         ORDER

         Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

         1. Estrada's Motion for to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § ...


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