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United States v. Czeck

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 23, 2019

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

          Martin Robert Czeck, Petitioner-Defendant, Pro Se.

          Andrew Dunne, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, counsel for the Government.

          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”) self-styled pro se motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) to reduce his sentence pursuant to Amendments 750 and 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) as well as the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. (Doc. No. [191]). The United States of America (the “Government”) opposes Petitioner-Defendant's motion. (Doc. No. [195].)

         Petitioner-Defendant contends that his sentence was unconstitutional because it was based on erroneous Guidelines calculations and he was wrongly deemed subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) enhancements applied. The Government argues that Petitioner-Defendant's claims are without merit and previous iterations of the same arguments have been rejected, therefore the motion should be construed as an unauthorized successive habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and dismissed without an evidentiary hearing or issuance of a certificate of appealability.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Petitioner-Defendant's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         An abbreviated version of the procedural history and record is provided because this Court examined both at length in its Memorandum and Order denying Petitioner-Defendant's previous challenge to his sentence. (Doc. No. 182.)

         Petitioner-Defendant filed his first § 2255 motion to vacate his sentence on June 6, 1997. (Doc. No. 76.) Since that time, 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. Detailed reviews of these events have been included and addressed in prior documents in the record and will not be repeated here.

         It should be noted that in an Order issued on July 7, 2016, this Court denied a motion by Petitioner-Defendant for a reduction of his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3482(c)(2). (Doc. No. 166). The Court explained that Amendment 782 to the Guidelines does not authorize or otherwise reduce the sentencing range for an Armed Career Criminal, nor does it grant this Court with the authority to do so. (Id. at 4.) As this Court noted then, multiple federal courts, including the Eighth Circuit, has previously rejected Petitioner-Defendant's same claims. (Id. at 2, n.1.) The Court also explained that it did not have jurisdictional authority to address the post-sentencing vacation of prior convictions, and any request to modify his sentence based on vacation of prior convictions would constitute an unauthorized successive § 2255 motion. (Id.) Not long thereafter, this Court denied a motion by Petitioner-Defendant for habeas relief under § 2255 for failure to obtain authorization from the Eighth Circuit. (Doc. No. 172.)

         Petitioner-Defendant filed another self-styled motion on November 17, 2017, requesting leave to file an amended § 2255 motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c) or, in the alternative, to correct his sentence pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). (Doc. No. 178.) Petitioner-Defendant argued then that his sentence under the ACCA was improper and that this Court erred in treating his claims as untimely pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Id.) This Court denied the motion in a Memorandum and Order issued on March 1, 2018, again reasoning that it must dismiss the motion because Petitioner-Defendant had again failed to obtain the required authorization from the Eighth Circuit. (Doc. No. 182 at 4.) Alternative relief under Rule 60(b) was likewise denied because, as this Court explained, that rule only applies to civil cases and further, it cannot be used to reopen terminated § 2255 proceedings or to bypass the requirement for prior authorization. (Id. at 5.) The Court further explained that the motion was untimely and Petitioner-Defendant failed to provide a reason to excuse the delay. (Id. at 6.) Finally, the Court noted that under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1), claims presented in second or successive § 2255 habeas corpus petitions that were presented in prior applications shall be dismissed. (Id.) The Court required no evidentiary hearing to reach this conclusion, and no certificate of appealability was issued. (Id.)

         The Eighth Circuit denied Petitioner-Defendant's latest application for a certificate of appealability on June 6, 2018. (Doc. No. 189.)

         Petitioner-Defendant now requests that his sentence be reduced pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c), based on Amendments 750 and 782 to the Guidelines regarding drug quantities and related sentencing issues. Alternatively, Petitioner-Defendant seeks relief under Fed. R. Crim. P. 36(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a)(2). Petitioner-Defendant argues that he is “actually innocent” of having a criminal record that subjected him to sentencing under the ...


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