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United States v. Czeck

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 1, 2018

United States of America, Respondent-Plaintiff,
v.
Martin Robert Czeck, Petitioner-Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner-Defendant Martin Robert Czeck's (“Petitioner-Defendant”) pro se motion for leave to file an amended 2255 Petition. (Doc. No. 178.) The United States of America (the “Government”) opposes Petitioner-Defendant's motion and petition. (Doc. No. 180.)

         On November 17, 2017, Petitioner-Defendant filed a “Motion for Leave to File Amended 2255 Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c) or in the Alternative to Correct Sentence Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).” (Doc. No. 178.) In his motion, Petitioner-Defendant seeks to again challenge his sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) based upon his assertion that his prior state court convictions were vacated following the imposition of his sentence. Petitioner-Defendant again asserts that he improperly sought relief from the ACCA on the vacated stay convictions in his motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582 in May 2005. In so asserting, Petitioner-Defendant contends that the Court misunderstood his motion as one under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1) and, therefore, improperly dismissed his motion as untimely filed. For those reasons, Petitioner-Defendant is now again before this Court stating that this Court was erroneous when it treated his claims as untimely pursuant to § 2255 and he therefore seeks to amend his § 3582 pleading to a motion filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(4) so that he can argue that he is no longer an armed career criminal based on the vacated state convictions.

         It should be noted, as observed by the Government, that Petitioner-Defendant previously filed his initial § 2255 motion to vacate his sentence more than 20 years ago, on June 6, 1997. At that time, the Court denied his motion and the Eighth Circuit affirmed the judgment of this Court. (Doc. Nos. 76, 85, 92.) For the reasons that the Court will state and discuss below, the Court respectfully denies Petitioner-Defendant's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 6, 1997, Petitioner-Defendant filed his first § 2255 motion to vacate his sentence. (Doc. No. 76.) As the record establishes, Petitioner-Defendant has filed numerous motions for post-conviction relief in three separate district courts, including several applications for leave to file successive § 2255 motions, all of which were denied. As observed by the Government, a thorough review of the post-conviction litigation initiated by Petitioner-Defendant is set forth in the Government's response to the petition for writ of habeas corpus under § 2255, which was filed in April 2013. (Doc. No. 142 at 3-16.) The Court will not repeat here the detailed account of the different federal courts that have addressed Petitioner-Defendant's request to vacate his sentence as an Armed Career Criminal based upon the vacated state court convictions, which is set forth in the Government's memorandum in response to Petitioner-Defendant's motion for sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) which was filed, as noted above, in June 2016. (Doc. No. 165 at 8-17.)

         Admittedly, this Court issued an order directing the Government to submit a responsive memorandum “addressing the effect, if any, of the post-sentencing vacation of the Defendant's prior convictions.” (Doc. No. 162.) The Government filed a memorandum with a detailed post-conviction procedural history which included Petitioner-Defendant's multiple challenges that relate to the vacated prior state court convictions filed with the multiple federal courts. (Doc. No. 165 at 8-17.)

         This Court, on July 7, 2016, denied Petitioner-Defendant's motion and, in so doing, stated:

Defendant argues that his prior convictions have been vacated such that he cannot be considered an Armed Career Criminal under the ACCA. However, the post-sentencing vacation of Defendant's prior convictions has no effect on the instant motion. First, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) does not provide the Court with jurisdictional authority to address the post-sentencing vacation of prior convictions. Second, any request to modify Defendant's sentence based on vacation of prior convictions would constitute a successive motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, for which Defendant must, and has not, obtained pre-authorization from the Eighth Circuit. Third, multiple federal courts-including the Eighth Circuit-have addressed the post-sentencing vacation of Defendant's prior convictions and have rejected Defendant's claims. (E.g., Doc. No. 112.) (Emphasis added).

See Doc. No. 166 at p.2, n.1.

         However, prior to the Court entering its order on July 7, 2016, Petitioner-Defendant filed another motion for habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 164.) The Government filed an additional response to his habeas motion on August 19, 2016. (Doc. No. 170.) This Court then denied Petitioner-Defendant's motion for habeas relief under § 2255 as a “second or successive” habeas application because Petitioner-Defendant had failed to obtain pre-authorization from the Eighth Circuit. See District Court Order, September 20, 2016. (Doc. No. 172.) The Court declined at that time to grant Petitioner-Defendant a certificate of appealability.

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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