United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Deborah Mae Carlson, pro se.
Jeffrey S. Paulsen, Assistant United States Attorney, for
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Deborah Mae Carlson was convicted of nine counts of mailing
threatening communications to her veterinarian and others and
three counts of mailing extortionate communications to
various business entities. Carlson appealed, and the Eighth
Circuit reversed one count of mailing extortionate
communications to a business entity, after which Carlson was
resentenced. Carlson brings a pro se motion to
vacate, set aside, or correct her resentencing under 28
U.S.C. § 2255, alleging, among other grounds, law
enforcement misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel,
and actual innocence. The Court finds that Carlson's
motion fails to satisfy the requirements of § 2255 and
brought her pets to Dr. Katherine Belisle of South Fork
Animal Hospital (the “Hospital”) for frequent
veterinary care in March 2010. United States v.
Carlson, 787 F.3d 939, 941-42 (8th Cir.
2015). From March through May 2010, Belisle received at the
Hospital eight hand-addressed letters (“Belisle
Letters”) detailing threats of her kidnap, torture, and
rape. Id. at 942. One letter was delivered with a
knife in the Hospital's mailbox. Id. In
addition, two other Hospital staff received letters at the
Hospital detailing harm to be committed against them and
other businesses near the Hospital also received threatening
letters (“Business Letters”) around this time,
but these letters were falsely signed with Belisle's
name. Id. Notably, one letter was addressed to
“Scott Lake Veterinary Center.” Id. Each
of the Business Letters threatened physical violence,
property damage, and defamation if the recipient failed to
deliver large sums of money or veterinary supplies to the
jury trial, Carlson was indicted and convicted of nine counts
of mailing a threatening communication in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 876(c) and three counts of mailing a
threatening communication with intent to extort in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 876(b) and (d). Id.; (see
also Jury Verdict, May 8, 2013, Docket No. 75). The
Court sentenced Carlson to 33 months in custody and 3 years
of supervised release with various conditions. (Sentencing
J., Mar. 31, 2014, Docket No. 101.)
appeal, Carlson challenged the three counts of mailing a
threatening communication with intent to extort.
Carlson, 787 F.3d at 941. The Eighth Circuit
reversed on one count, which involved the letter addressed to
Scott Lake Veterinary Center. Id. at 949. The Eighth
Circuit held that the jury was not properly instructed on the
definition of “person” with regard to the victim
of extortion under § 876 and that the letter addressed
to Scott Lake Veterinary Center was ambiguous as to whether
the victim was a natural person. Id. at 948-49. On
remand, the Court again imposed a sentence of 33 months
incarceration, which Carlson had already completed at the
time of resentencing in October 2015. (Resentencing J., Nov.
9, 2015, Docket No. 138.)
presents ten grounds on which she argues the Court should
vacate, set aside, or correct her resentencing. (Def.'s
Mot. to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence
(“Mot.”), Oct. 14, 2016, Docket No. 140.) In
addition, Carlson requests an evidentiary hearing.
(Def.'s Reply Mem. at 1-2, Dec. 13, 2016, Docket No.
143.) For the foregoing reasons, the Court denies both
Carlson's motion and request for an evidentiary hearing.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
2255 allows a federal prisoner in custody a limited
opportunity to seek post-conviction relief 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.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). “Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 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.” 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)). In addition, this Court
continues to have jurisdiction over Carlson's motion
because individuals on supervised release are
“considered to be ‘in custody' for purposes
of a § 2255 motion.” United States v.
Pregent, 190 F.3d 279, 283 (4th Cir. 1999).