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Smith v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 19, 2015

PRINCESS SMITH, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal No. RWT-10-761

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROGER W. TITUS, District Judge.

Pending are Petitioner Princess Smith's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence in her related criminal case.[1] ECF Nos. 197 and 217. Upon review of the papers filed, and for the reasons stated below, the Court will deny Smith's motions.

BACKGROUND

Smith participated in a conspiracy in which, along with her coconspirators, she committed identity theft in order to steal money from victims' bank accounts. ECF No. 163-1. In total, the conspiracy caused at least $78, 200 in losses. Id. Smith was indicted on December 13, 2010. ECF No. 1. She pled guilty on August 22, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. ECF No. 162. She was sentenced to 72 months of imprisonment, constituting 48 months for the conspiracy charge, and a mandatory consecutive 24 months for the aggravated identity theft charge. ECF No. 180. She timely filed a § 2255 petition on April 8, 2013. ECF No. 197. In her petition, Smith asserts four grounds for relief:

1. Error in calculating her sentencing guideline range, id. at 4;
2. Failure of counsel to submit mitigating evidence at sentencing, id. at 5-6;
3. Error in determining the restitution amount attributable to her, id. at 8; and
4. Failure of counsel to accurately inform her of what her sentence would be. Id. at 9-10.

On April 15, 2015, Smith filed a motion for reconsideration of her sentence. ECF No. 217. The grounds for this motion appear to be that Smith's father is ill, and that she was not given sufficient credit for time served. Id.

ANALYSIS

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a), a prisoner in custody may file a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a 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 that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b), the Court may deny the motion without a hearing if "the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); see, e.g., Zelaya v. United States, No. DKC 05-0393, 2013 WL 4495788, at *2 (D. Md. Aug. 20, 2013).

I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

Grounds two and four of Smith's petition are ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Ineffective assistance of counsel claims are analyzed under the rubric of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). The Strickland analysis requires a defendant to make two showings to establish ineffective assistance of counsel: that counsel's performance was so deficient as to be objectively unreasonable, and that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unreasonable performance, the outcome of the case would have been different. Id. at 687-94. A petitioner claiming ineffective assistance of counsel after pleading guilty must show that, but ...


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