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.

Jefferson v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

June 28, 2017

JAMES EDWARD JEFFERSON, PETITIONER
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA RESPONDENTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         This matter comes before the court on the motion of James Edward Jefferson to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The government has responded to the motion; Jefferson has filed a traverse, and the matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the instant motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence will be denied.

         Section 2255 Proceedings

         Section 28 U.S.C. § 2255 permits an inmate serving a sentence after conviction of a federal crime "to move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). As with the writ of habeas corpus, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2254, a § 2255 motion sets forth only four bases on which a motion may be made: (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 exceeds the statutory maximum sentence; or (4) the sentence is "otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Thus, a prisoner must claim either a constitutional violation or want of subject matter jurisdiction to invoke 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In the absence of constitutional or jurisdictional defects, a federal prisoner may invoke § 2255 only if the error constitutes "a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice." United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979).

         The district court must first conduct a preliminary review of a section 2255 motion, and "[i]f it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of the prior proceeding that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion." Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, Rule 4(b). If the motion raises a non-frivolous claim to relief, the court must order the Government to file a response or to take other appropriate action. Id. The judge may then require the parties to expand the record as necessary and, if good cause is shown, authorize limited discovery. Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, Rules 6-7.

         After reviewing the government's answer, any transcripts and records of prior proceedings, and any supplementary materials submitted by the parties, the court must decide whether an evidentiary hearing is warranted. Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, Rule 8. Under the statute, an evidentiary hearing must be held unless "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). However, the court need not hold an evidentiary hearing if the prisoner fails to produce "independent indicia of the likely merit of [his] allegations." United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir. 1998)).

         Ultimately, the petitioner bears the burden of establishing his claims of error by a preponderance of the evidence. See Wright v. United States, 624 F.2d 557, 558 (5th Cir. 1980). For certain "structural" errors, relief follows automatically once the error is proved. See Burgess v. Dretke, 350 F.3d 461, 472 (5th Cir. 2003). For other errors at the trial court level, the court may grant relief only if the error "had substantial and injurious effect or influence" in determining the outcome of the case. Brecht v. Abrahmson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993); see also United States v. Chavez, 193 F.3d 375, 379 (5th Cir. 1999) (applying Brecht's harmless error standard in a § 2255 proceeding). If the court finds that the prisoner is entitled to relief, it "shall vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct the sentence as may appear appropriate." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

         Procedural Posture

         Jefferson was indicted on several counts of drug and firearm crimes, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and use of a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking crimes See Presentence Report at p. 4. A jury convicted Jefferson on all counts. PSR, p. 6. After conviction Jefferson appealed and the Fifth Circuit affirmed his conviction. United States v. Davis, et al, 61 F.3d 291 (5th Or. 1995), cert. den. sub nom United States v. Jefferson, 516 U.S. 1135 (1996). Jefferson sought sentence reductions under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c), which the court denied. Docs. 87, 137. The court, however, later granted Jefferson's motion [147] to reduce sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582, Sentencing Guidelines § IB 1.10, and Amendment 782.

         Jefferson's Claims

         In the instant § 2255 motion [140], Jefferson seeks retroactive application of the United States Supreme Court's holding in United States v. Rosemond, 134 S.Ct. 1240 (2014). In Rosemond, the Supreme Court held that, to establish guilt in an aiding and abetting case under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which establishes enhanced penalties for certain crimes when a firearm is used, the government must prove that a defendant knew beforehand that the person he aided or abetted carried the firearm. Id. at 1249. For the reasons set forth below, the instant petition will be dismissed as untimely and denied on the merits.

         The Instant Petition is Untimely

         Jefferson's Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is not timely. Section 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255(f) provides for a one-year limitations period:

(f) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period shall run ...

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.