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Hill v. United States

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

November 30, 2017

PATRICK WADE HILL, 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. 5); the Government's Supplemental Brief (Doc. No. 8); the Petitioner's Reply (Doc. No. 10); and the Petitioner's Supplemental Pleading (Doc. No. 11). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion To Vacate (Doc. No. 1) is DENIED, and this action is DISMISSED.

         II. Procedural and Factual Background

         In the underlying criminal case, the Petitioner pled guilty, before now-retired Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Doc. Nos. 30, 32 in Case No. 1:14cr00006). Through the Plea Agreement, the Petitioner acknowledged that he qualified as an Armed Career Criminal, and that he was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 months of imprisonment. (Doc. No. 32, at 6, 9, in Case No. 1:14cr00006). The parties estimated the Petitioner's advisory sentencing guideline range to be 188 to 235 months, and ultimately agreed to a sentence of 188 months. (Id., at 9-10). After the change-of-plea hearing, the case was randomly reassigned to now-retired Judge Todd J. Campbell. (Doc. Nos. 33, 34 in Case No. 1:14cr00006).

         At the subsequent sentencing hearing, Judge Campbell adopted the Presentence Investigation Report, determined that the advisory sentencing guideline range was 188 to 235 months, and imposed the 188-month agreed sentence. (Doc. Nos. 40, 41, 42 in Case No. 1:14cr00006). The record reveals that no appeal was taken.

         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 Fed.Appx. 358, 359 (6th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016).

         Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs and records filed in the 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 establishes ...


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