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Alegria v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 2, 2018

MARVEL ALEGRIA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 'Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On April 14, 2014, Marvel Alegria ("Petitioner") pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Interstate Commerce by Robbery, 18 U.S.C § 1951. (ECF No. 25.) On September 23, 2014, Petitioner was sentenced to 57 months' imprisonment, (ECF No. 63), which was below the guidelines recommendation of 63 months. Petitioner did not appeal her conviction.

         Petitioner, then incarcerated at FCI Hazelton, in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia moved to vacate her sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 56.) Pending now is that Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 56).[1] Having reviewed the patties' submissions, this Court finds that no hearing at this time is necessary. See, e.g., United States v. Lemaster, 403 F.3d 216, 220-23 (4th Or. 2005) (holding that a hearing must be held "[u]nless the motion and the files and records conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief...."); United States v. White, 366 F.3d 291, 302 (4th Cir. 2004); see also Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 56) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         On January 16, 2014, Petitioner was indicted for one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), one count of Using, Carrying, or Brandishing A Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), two counts of Interference with Commerce by Robbery, and two counts of Aiding and Abetting, 18 U.S.C. § 2. (ECF No. 1.) Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). (ECF No. 25.) All other charges were dismissed by the United States. (Id.) This Court sentenced Petitioner to 57 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. (ECF No. 63 at 1.)

         Petitioner was released from federal custody and had a reentry hearing before this court on March 15, 2018. (ECF No. 65). Petitioner is currently serving her three year period of supervised release. (ECF No. 63.)

         On July 26, 2016, Petitioner moved to vacate her sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 56.) On July 29, 2016, this Court ordered the Government to respond to Petitioner's Motion to Vacate.[2] (ECF No. 57.) The Government responded in opposition to the Motion to Vacate on January, 30, 2018. (ECF No. 63.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         As the Petitioner proceeds pro se, this Court must construe her pleadings liberally. See Erickson v. Partus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also Alley v. Yadkin County Sheriff Dept., No. 17-1249, 698 Fed.Appx. 141 (Mem) (4th Cir. Oct. 5, 2017) (citing Erickson for the proposition that [P]ro se complaints and pleadings, however inartfully pleaded, must be liberally construed and held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers").

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a prisoner in custody may seek to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence on four grounds: (1) the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, (2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose the sentence, (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to a collateral attack. Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 426-27 (1962) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2255). "[A]n error of law does not provide a basis for collateral attack unless the claimed error constituted 'a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice."' United States v. Addenda, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979) (quoting Hill, 368 U.S. at 428).

         The scope of a § 2255 collateral attack is far narrower than an appeal, and a '"collateral challenge may not do service for an appeal."' Foster p. Chatman, ___U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 1737, 1758 (2016) (quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982)). Thus, procedural default will bar consideration under § 2255 of any matters that "could have been but were not pursued on direct appeal, [unless] the movant . . . show[s] cause and actual prejudice resulting from the errors of which he complains." United States v. Pettiford, 612 F.3d 270, 280 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing United States v. Mikalajunas, 186 F.3d 490, 492-93 (4th Cir.1999)).

         A one-year statute of limitations applies to § 2255 petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). The limitations period runs 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 governmental action in violation of the Constitution or 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, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or (4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

Id; see also Whiteside v. United States, 775 F.3d 180, 183 (4th Cir. 2014). A conviction becomes final for the purpose of starting the one-year limitations period when the opportunity to appeal expires. See Clay , Untied States,537 U.S. 522, 524-25 (2003); United ...


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