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Estes v. United States

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

September 14, 2017

LONNIE PAUL ESTES, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES 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 (Doc. No. 1), the Government's Response (Doc. No. 13), the Petitioner's Reply (Doc. No. 16), the Petitioner's Supplemental Brief Regarding Application Of Stitt v. United States (Doc. No. 18), and the Government's Response To Supplemental Brief (Doc. No. 20). For the reasons set forth herein, the Petitioner's Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. No. 1) is GRANTED. The Petitioner will be re-sentenced by separate order in Criminal Case No. 3:03-cr-00106.

         Also pending before the Court is the Government's Motion For Extension Of Time To File Response Late (Doc. No. 19). The Motion For Extension (Doc. No. 19) is GRANTED.

         II. Procedural and Factual Background

         In the underlying criminal case, the Petitioner pled guilty, before now-retired Judge John T. Nixon, to possession of counterfeit currency and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Doc. Nos. 67, 68 in Case No. 3:03cr00106). Through the Plea Agreement, the Petitioner acknowledged that he had three or more prior convictions for violent offenses and that he was subject to sentencing as an Armed Career Criminal. (Doc. No. 68, at 8, in Case No. 3:03cr00106).

         At the subsequent sentencing hearing, on August 11, 2005, Judge Nixon sentenced the Petitioner to 188 months of imprisonment. (Doc. Nos. 72, 73, 74 in Case No. 3:03cr00106). The record reveals that no appeal was filed.

         III. Analysis

         A. The Section 2255 Remedy 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 provides federal prisoners with a statutory mechanism by which to seek to have their sentence vacated, set aside or corrected:

(a) 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, the petitioner must demonstrate constitutional error that had a “‘substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.'” Hamblen v. United States, 591 F.3d 471, 473 (6th Cir. 2009)(quoting Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).

         The court should hold an evidentiary hearing in a Section 2255 proceeding where a factual dispute arises, unless the petitioner's allegations “‘cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or [are] conclusions rather than statements of fact.'” Ray v. United States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013)(quoting Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999)). In addition, no hearing is required where “the record conclusively shows that the petitioner is entitled to no relief.” Arredondo, 178 F.3d at 782 (quoting Blanton v. United States, 94 F.3d 227, 235 (6th Cir. 1996)). See also Fifer v. United States, 660 F.App'x 358, 359 (6th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016).

         Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs and records filed in Petitioner's underlying criminal case, as well as the pleadings, briefs and records filed in this case, the Court finds that it need not hold an evidentiary hearing in this case to resolve the Petitioner's claims. The record conclusively ...


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