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United States v. Spencer

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 10, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Marvin Spencer (1), Defendant.

          Benjamin Bejar and Thomas M. Hollenhorst, for Plaintiff United States of America

          Marvin Spencer, Pro Se

          ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are two motions filed by Marvin Spencer, pro se: (1) Motion for the Appointment of Counsel [Doc. No. 321]; and (2) Motion for an Extension [Doc. No. 323]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies without prejudice Spencer's Motion for Appointment of Counsel and denies his Motion for an Extension.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Following a February 2016 jury trial, Spencer was found guilty of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 922(g)(1), 924(c), and 1951. (See Redacted Jury Verdict [Doc. No. 188].) In August 2017, this Court sentenced Spencer to 257 months in prison. (See Am. Sentencing J. at 2 [Doc. No. 269].)

         Spencer's counsel filed a direct appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the reasonableness of the sentence, and Spencer also filed a pro se brief challenging this Court's jurisdiction, counsel's effectiveness, and the validity of his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1551 (2015). See United States v. Spencer, No. 16-3435, 2017 WL 4005119, at *1 (8th Cir. Sept. 12, 2017) (per curiam) [Doc. No. 324].)

         While his appeal was pending with the Eighth Circuit, Spencer filed the instant motions in April and June, 2017. On September 12, 2017, the Eighth Circuit denied Spencer's appeal, Spencer, 2017 WL 4005119, at *1, entered judgment, (see 8th Cir. Judgment [Doc. No. 325]), and issued its mandate on October 3, 2017. (8th Cir. Mandate [Doc. No. 326].) In response to Spencer's request for an extension to file a petition for rehearing, on October 4, 2017, the Eighth Circuit recalled the mandate and granted Spencer an extension. Although the filing of a notice of appeal “confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal, ” see Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982) (per curiam), the instant motions for appointment of counsel and an extension are not aspects of Spencer's case on appeal. Accordingly, the Court considers Spencer's pending motions.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Filing Extension

         Spencer seeks an extension of time in which to file a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, noting his awareness of the one-year statute of limitations applicable to such motions. (Mot. for Extension at 1.) Both the docketed and original copies of Spencer's Motion for an Extension are so faintly printed as to be nearly illegible, but Spencer appears to state that the basis for his motion arises under Johnson. (See id.) Explaining his need for additional time, Spencer appears to argue that his facility has withheld his legal materials, and that periods of confinement in the facility's Special Housing Unit, or “SHU, ” and transfer between prisons, have hindered his filing ability. (Id.)

         Section 2255(a) provides a limited means of relief for prisoners claiming a right to release from custody based on sentencing errors. See United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). A one-year statute of limitations applies to Section 2255 motions, which runs from the latest of:

(1) The date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) The date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from ...

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