United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Alfredo Varela-Meraz, pro se.
S. Dunne and Thomas M. Hollenhorst, United States Attorneys
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge
on Defendant-Petitioner Jose Alfredo Varela-Meraz's
(“Defendant-Petitioner”) Motion to Amend [Doc.
No. 92]. He seeks to amend his petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 (“First § 2255 Petition”) [Doc.
No. 70]. For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant-Petitioner's Motion to Amend is denied.
Underlying Criminal Proceedings
factual and procedural background of
Defendant-Petitioner's case is more fully detailed in
this Court's previous order denying his First § 2255
Petition, (see Mem. Opinion & Order of 6/19/15
[Doc. No. 80]), and is incorporated herein by reference.
Briefly stated, in March of 2010, police officers arrested
Defendant-Petitioner. (See Plea Agreement [Doc. No.
45] at 2; Compl. [Doc. No. 1] at 2-3.) A subsequent search of
the vehicle from which he was arrested revealed a firearm and
over 1 kilogram of methamphetamine. (See Plea
Agreement at 2; Compl. at 3.) In March of 2013,
Defendant-Petitioner was charged in a five-count indictment
with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession
with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a
firearm during a drug trafficking crime, unauthorized
possession of a firearm as a felon, and unlawful reentry
after removal. (Indictment [Doc. No. 11] at 1-3.)
this Court appointed Robert D. Richman as
Defendant-Petitioner's counsel. (See CJA 20
Appointment I [Doc. No. 9].) After several disputes with
Defendant-Petitioner, Richman withdrew from representation.
(See Mem. Opinion & Order of 6/19/15 at 2.)
Defendant-Petitioner then retained private counsel, Ignatius
Udeani, in May of 2013. (See Notice of Substitution
[Doc. No. 37].) On July 29, 2013, Defendant-Petitioner
entered into a plea agreement and pled guilty to two counts:
drug conspiracy (Count 1) and use of a firearm during a drug
trafficking crime (Count 3). (See Plea Agreement at
December of 2013, Defendant-Petitioner again expressed
dissatisfaction with his counsel. (See
Def-Pet'r's Letters [Docs. No. 52-55].) Udeani filed
a motion to withdraw [Doc. No. 56], and this Court
reappointed Richman as Defendant-Petitioner's counsel.
(See Notice of Appearance/Substitution [Doc. No.
59]; CJA 20 Appointment II [Doc. No. 60].)
Defendant-Petitioner was then sentenced on May 21, 2014, to a
term of imprisonment of 248 months-188 months for Count 1 and
60 months for Count 3 to run consecutively.
Defendant-Petitioner did not appeal his sentence.
First § 2255 Petition and Appeal
filed his First § 2255 Petition on March 12, 2015,
claiming that Udeani had provided ineffective assistance of
counsel. Defendant-Petitioner alleged that he had sought to
cooperate with the Government and that Udeani “was
constitutionally ineffective for failing to serve as a
meaningful advocate during his attempted cooperation.”
(First § 2255 Petition at 4; see also Mem.
Opinion & Order of 6/19/15 at 3.) He also moved for an
evidentiary hearing in support of his ineffective assistance
of counsel claim. (First § 2255 Petition at 5; see
also Mem. Opinion & Order of 6/19/15 at 3-4.)
Court denied that First § 2255 Petition on the merits on
June 19, 2015. (See Mem. Opinion & Order of
6/19/15.) It reasoned that Defendant-Petitioner had failed to
meet his heavy burden of demonstrating that his counsel's
performance “fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness.” (Id. at 6 (quoting
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688, 688
(1984)).) Alternatively, this Court found that even if
Udeani's performance had been objectively unreasonable,
Defendant-Petitioner had also failed to show that it had
“prejudiced the outcome of the proceedings.”
(Id. at 9.) Finally, this Court determined that an
evidentiary hearing was unnecessary because
Defendant-Petitioner's “claims [were] contradicted
by the record and the law.” (Id. at 10.) The
Court also declined to issue a certificate of appealability
because “no issue raised is ‘debatable among
reasonable jurists.'” (Id. at 11 (quoting
Fleiger v. Delo, 16 F.3d 878, 882-83 (8th Cir.
then petitioned the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for a
certificate of appealability, filing a Notice of Appeal on
July 29, 2015 [Doc. No. 82]. His request was ...