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.

Blanks v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

August 23, 2017

STEPHEN WAYNE BLANKS, Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the court are the Petitioner's Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1); the Petitioner's Supplemental Brief (Docket No. 7); the Government's Response (Docket No. 8); the Petitioner's Response In Opposition To Government's Request For Transfer To Sixth Circuit (Docket No. 10); and the Government's Supplemental Response (Docket No. 11). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1) is DENIED, and this action is DISMISSED.

         In its initial Response, the Government suggests that the court is required to transfer this case to the Sixth Circuit as a second or successive petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government contends that a post-sentencing motion filed by the Petitioner in his underlying criminal cases (Docket No. 55 in Case No. 3:08cr00250; Docket No. 26 in Case No. 3:10cr00026; Docket No. 27 in Case No. 3:10cr00033) should be construed as his first petition.

         In Castro v. United States, 540 U.S. 375, 383, 124 S.Ct. 786, 792, 157 L.Ed.2d 778 (2003), the Supreme Court held that when a district court recharacterizes a pro se litigant's motion as a first petition under Section 2255, it must “notify the pro se litigant that it intends to recharacterize the pleading, warn the litigant that this recharacterization means that any subsequent § 2255 motion will be subject to the restrictions on ‘second or successive' motions, and provide the litigant an opportunity to withdraw the motion or to amend it so that it contains all the § 2255 claims he believes he has.” The order denying the Petitioner's post-sentencing motion in his underlying criminal cases, entered by now-retired Judge Todd J. Campbell, did not suggest that the motion was being recharacterized as a first petition under Section 2255 (Docket No. 58 in Case No. 3:08cr00250; Docket No. 29 in Case No. 3:10cr00026; Docket No. 30 in Case No. 3:10cr00033). The Government has not cited to any other document in the record indicating that the Petitioner's motion was recharacterized as a first petition under Section 2255, or that the requirements of Castro were otherwise satisfied. Accordingly, the court denies the Government's request to construe Petitioner's Motion To Vacate as a second or successive petition and to transfer it to the Sixth Circuit.

         II. Procedural Background

          As part of a global settlement with the Government, the Petitioner pled guilty to bank robbery in three separate cases on April 20, 2010. (Docket Nos. 37, 38, 51 in Case No. 3:08cr00250; Docket Nos. 9, 10, 23 in Case No. 3:10cr00026; Docket Nos. 10, 11, 24 in Case No. 3:10cr00033). Through the Plea Agreement, the Petitioner acknowledged that he qualified as a career offender, and the parties agreed to a total sentence of 180 months of imprisonment. (Docket No. 51 in Case No. 3:08cr00250; Docket No. 23 in Case No. 3:10cr00026; Docket No. 24 in Case No. 3:10cr00033). At the subsequent sentencing hearing, on August 12, 2010, Judge Campbell sentenced the Petitioner to the agreed 180-month sentence. (Docket Nos. 50, 52, 53 in Case No. 3:08cr00250; Docket Nos. 22, 24, 25 in Case No. 3:10cr00026; Docket Nos. 23, 25, 26 in Case No. 3:10cr00033). The record indicates that no appeal was taken.

         III. Analysis

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         The Petitioner has brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2255 provides a statutory mechanism for challenging the imposition of a federal sentence:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). In order to obtain relief under Section 2255, a petitioner “‘must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.'” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005)(quoting Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).

         If a factual dispute arises in a § 2255 proceeding, the court is to hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve the dispute. Ray v. United States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013). An evidentiary hearing is not required, however, if the record conclusively shows that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); Ray, 721 F.3d at 761; Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999). A hearing is also unnecessary “if the petitioner's allegations ‘cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.'” Id.

         Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs, and records filed in the Petitioner's underlying criminal case, as well as the filings in this case, the court finds it unnecessary to hold an evidentiary hearing because the records conclusively ...


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.