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Unites States v. Gonzalez-Meza

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 29, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
Carlos Gonzalez-Meza, Defendant/Petitioner.

          Jeffrey S. Paulsen, Assistant United States Attorney, Counsel for Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. DAVIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner's motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct his Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, for permission to file an untimely 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion, to appoint counsel, and to proceed IFP. [Doc. Nos. 43, 44, 46 and 47]

         I. Background

         On June 20, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment which charged him with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 (a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). On November 24, 2014, he was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 96 months, which was a downward variance from the applicable guideline range of 135-168 months. The applicable guideline range was based on the Court's determination that Petitioner was accountable for 4.867 kilograms of methamphetamine (actual), which subjected him to a base offense level of 38. Petitioner did not appeal his sentence.

         On March 15, 2015, Petitioner filed a motion for sentence reduction based on Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which revised the drug quantity table. [Doc. No. 33] The motion was denied based on this Court's determination that application of Amendment 782 in this case did not reduce Petitioner's base offense level from a level 38. [Doc. No. 36] On December 14, 2015 and June 27, 2016, Petitioner filed additional motions to reduce his sentence based on Amendment 782 to the Guidelines, and those motions were denied as Petitioner had again failed to demonstrate that he was entitled to relief. [Doc. No. 42]

         II. Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, “[a] prisoner in custody under sentence . . . claiming the right to be released upon the ground 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 is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Section 2255 is intended to provide federal prisoners a remedy for jurisdictional or constitutional errors. Sun Bear v. United States, 644 F.3d 700, 704 (8th Cir. 2011). It is not intended to be a substitute for appeal or to relitigate matters decided on appeal. See Bousley v. United States, 523 U.S. 614, 621 (1998); Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 346-47 (1974)).

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. A movant may not raise constitutional issues for the first time on collateral review without establishing both cause for the procedural default and actual prejudice resulting from the error.

United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted).

         Petitioner is entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his petition “unless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C.A. ' 2255(b). “[A] petition can be dismissed without a hearing if (1) the petitioner's allegations, accepted as true, would not entitle the petitioner to relief, or (2) the allegations cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.” Engelen v. United States, 68 F.3d 238, 240 (8th Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted).

         The Court finds that Petitioner has not demonstrated that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Many of the allegations asserted in the petition are contradicted by the record, and for the remaining allegations, even if accepted as true, Petitioner has not demonstrated that he is entitled to relief.

         III. Timeliness

         There is a one year period during which a motion may be filed under Section 2255. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). This period begins to run 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 government action in violation of the Constitution or the laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action; 3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on ...


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