Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Varela-Meraz v. United States

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 31, 2018

Jose Alfredo Varela-Meraz, Defendant-Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Plaintiff-Respondent.

          Jose Alfredo Varela-Meraz, pro se.

          Andrew S. Dunne and Thomas M. Hollenhorst, United States Attorneys for Plaintiff-Respondent.

          ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Underlying Criminal Proceedings

         The 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.)

         Thereafter, 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 1.)

         In 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.

         B. Postconviction Proceedings

         1. First § 2255 Petition and Appeal

         Defendant-Petitioner 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.)

         This 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. 1994)).)

         Defendant-Petitioner 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.