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United States v. Caskey

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 31, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TIMOTHY GLEN CASKEY, Defendant.

          Gregory G. Booker, Acting United States Attorney, and Nathan P. Petterson, Assistant United States Attorney, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, for plaintiff.

          Timothy G. Caskey, No. 07389-041, Federal Correctional Institution - Gilmer, pro se defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM, United States District Court Chief Judge

         On February 6, 2014, Timothy Glen Caskey pled guilty to charges of Kidnapping and Bank Robbery. The Court held an evidentiary hearing to resolve Caskey's objections to three sentencing enhancements, and subsequently sentenced him to a 300-month term of imprisonment on the kidnapping charge and a concurrent 240-month term on the bank robbery charge. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the sentence on appeal. Caskey now brings a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and improper enhancement of his sentence. Because Caskey fails to support his ineffective assistance of counsel claim factually or legally and raised his other argument on direct appeal, the Court will deny his motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Caskey was indicted for Kidnapping and Interstate Domestic Violence in the District of Minnesota and for Bank Robbery in the District of Kansas. (Criminal Case No. 11-301, Indictment, Sept. 21, 2011, Docket No. 12; Criminal Case No. 14-36, Indictment, Feb. 6, 2014, Docket No. 2.) The bank robbery prosecution was transferred to this District on February 6, 2014. (Criminal Case No. 14-36, Consent to Transfer, Feb. 6, 2014, Docket No. 1.) The same day, pursuant to the terms of a written plea agreement, Caskey pled guilty to the kidnapping and bank robbery charges. (Minute Entry, Feb. 6, 2014, Docket No. 119; Plea Agreement, Feb. 6, 2014, Docket No. 120.)[1]

         At Caskey's change of plea hearing, the Court informed him that “everyone seem[ed] to believe” his criminal history category was IV, but noted that it was “difficult” to be sure “without a more in-depth investigation.” (Transcript at 20:9-12, Apr. 7, 2015, Docket No. 181.) The Court warned Caskey that an error in calculation would not be a basis for him to withdraw a guilty plea. (Id. at 20:15-17.) The Court told Caskey that, if the Court adopted the government's views on the characteristics of the offense, the United States Sentencing Guidelines range would be 324 to 405 months. (Id. at 21:1-5.) And the Court noted that it would “ultimately make its own determination” as to the appropriate sentence. (Id. at 21:17-22.) Caskey expressly stated to the Court that he understood each of these points. (Id. at 20:18, 21:7, 21:24.)

         After Caskey's guilty plea, the United States Probation Office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”) calculating Caskey's adjusted offense level under the Guidelines as 38. See United States v. Caskey, No. 11-cr-301 (JRT/LIB), 2014 WL 4411041, at *1 (D. Minn. Sept. 8, 2014). That level included a downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility and enhancements for use of a dangerous weapon, for holding the kidnapping victim, R.L.C., for more than seven but less than thirty days, and for sexually exploiting R.L.C. See id. The PSR calculated Caskey's criminal history as category VI, rather than IV, resulting in a Guidelines range of 360 months to life. Id.

         Caskey objected to the three enhancements, and the Court held an evidentiary hearing on June 27, 2014, to resolve the matter. (Id.; see also Transcript, Aug. 15, 2014, Docket No. 151.) In a written Opinion and Order of September 8, 2014, the Court found that R.L.C. was credible in testifying that Caskey had beaten her with a screwdriver, held her against her will for the duration of the kidnapping, and sexually assaulted her. Caskey, 2014 WL 4411041, at *2-4. Accordingly, the Court overruled Caskey's objections to the sentencing enhancements. Id.

         On February 20, 2015, the Court sentenced Caskey to a 300-month term of imprisonment for the kidnapping and a concurrent 240-month term for the bank robbery. (Criminal Case No. 11-301, Minute Entry, Feb. 20, 2015, Docket No. 172; Criminal Case No. 14-36, Minute Entry, Feb. 20, 2015, Docket No. 22.) The Court explained that its sentence was a downward variance from the Guidelines range of 360 months to life, due to Caskey's “history and characteristics, ” and the fact that his “criminal history score was likely slightly overstated.” (Statement of Reasons, Feb. 26, 2015, Docket No. 174.) The sentence was affirmed on appeal by the Eighth Circuit. U.S. v. Caskey, 636 F. App'x 376, 379 (8th Cir. 2016) (per curium).

         Caskey now brings this § 2255 motion to vacate.

         DISCUSSION

         I. SECTION 2255

         Section 2255 affords a federal prisoner 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 ...


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