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Edwards v. United States

October 30, 2007

ANTONIO EDWARDS, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Pro se petitioner Antonio Edwards ("Petitioner") filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Court File No. 1). Pursuant to the Court's Order (Court File No. 5), the United States filed a response (Court File No. 8). The Court finds the materials thus submitted, together with the record of the underlying criminal case (1:00-CR-70-2), conclusively show Petitioner is not entitled to relief on the claim asserted in his petition. Accordingly, the Court will decide this matter without an evidentiary hearing, see United States v. Todaro, 982 F.2d 1025, 1028 (6th Cir. 1993), and will DENY Petitioner's motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This Court has previously addressed a § 2255 motion by Petitioner, in which it provided these background facts:

This Court sentenced Petitioner Edwards to 151 months in prison on March 23, 2001, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine hydrochloride. In that proceeding, Edwards challenged certain relevant conduct listed in his presentence report. After hearing testimony on the challenged conduct, the Court found by a preponderance of evidence that the presentence report was correct with respect to the challenged relevant conduct. Because Edwards failed to truthfully admit relevant conduct and falsely denied relevant conduct, the Court determined that the defendant had not clearly demonstrated acceptance of responsibility for his offense and therefore it was inappropriate to adjust his offense level downward as recommended in the presentence report. The Court therefore denied the reduction and told Petitioner he could raise that issue on appeal.

Edwards v. United States, 246 F. Supp. 2d 911, 912 (E.D. Tenn. 2003).

Petitioner appealed his sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ("Sixth Circuit") but his appeal was dismissed for want of prosecution. Id. at 913. Subsequently, Petitioner filed his original § 2255 motion, which this Court granted due to ineffective assistance of counsel in prosecuting his appeal. Id. at 916. The Court vacated Petitioner's sentence and ordered Petitioner be resentenced so he could file a new appeal. Id.

The Court subsequently resentenced Petitioner to 151 months (Case 1:00-CR-70-2: Court File No. 173). Petitioner appealed to the Sixth Circuit, which denied his appeal and affirmed his sentence. United States v. Edwards, 84 F.App'x 556, 558 (6th Cir. 2003) (unpublished). Regarding Petitioner's claim that he deserved a reduction in his offense level for acceptance of responsibility, the Sixth Circuit explained:

The presentence report indicated that Edwards had a total offense level of 31 and a criminal history category of IV, which yielded a sentencing guideline range of 151 to 188 months of incarceration. At his final sentencing, Edwards argued that he was entitled to a reduction in his offense level for acceptance of responsibility. However, the district court's refusal to apply this reduction was not clearly erroneous, as the court had rejected Edwards's challenge to the factual basis of his relevant conduct. Id.

Subsequently, Petitioner timely filed this § 2255 motion. Relying on Supreme Court decisions in Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004) and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), Petitioner asks the Court to correct his sentence to reflect that he did accept responsibility.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code permits a prisoner in custody under sentence of a federal court to move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, correct, or set aside that sentence, on the grounds: 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. This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Petitioner has the burden of establishing any claim asserted in the petition. See Bowers v. Battles, 568 F.2d 1, 5 (6th Cir. 1977); Mayes v. United States, 93 F. Supp. 2d 882, 886 (E.D. Tenn. 2000). It is a "well-settled principle that to obtain collateral review relief a prisoner must clear a significantly higher hurdle than would exist on direct appeal." Fair v. United States, 157 F.3d 427, 430 (6th Cir. 1998) (citing United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 166 (1982)).

Where a constitutional error is alleged, in order to obtain relief under § 2255 the record must reflect a constitutional error of such magnitude it had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the proceedings. See Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993); Watson v. United States, 165 F.3d 486, 488 (6th Cir. 1999). In order to prevail on a § 2255 motion alleging a non-constitutional error, a petitioner must show a "fundamental defect in the proceedings which necessarily results in a complete miscarriage of justice or an egregious error violative of due process." Riggs v. United States, 209 F.3d 828, 831 (6th Cir.); Gall v. United States, 21 F.3d 107, 109 (6th Cir. 1994). Thus, "[a] motion brought under § 2255 must allege one of three bases as a threshold standard: (1) an error of constitutional magnitude; ...


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