United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. VARLAN, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Christopher Ray Farmer has filed a motion to vacate, set
aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255 [Doc. 1385]. The government responded in opposition to
Petitioner's requested relief [Doc. 1753]. The matter is
now ripe for consideration. The Court has determined that
Petitioner is not entitled to relief under § 2255, and
therefore no evidentiary hearing is necessary. For the
reasons set forth herein, Petitioner's § 2255 motion
lacks merit and will be denied. Accordingly, No. 3:15-CV-65
will be dismissed.
was charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture
methamphetamine [Doc. 3]. Petitioner subsequently pleaded guilty
to the charge [Doc. 439] pursuant to a plea agreement [Doc.
412]. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of 246
months' imprisonment [Doc. 1125]. Petitioner filed an
appeal of his conviction and sentence, but the Court of
Appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely [Doc. 1394].
Petitioner also filed the instant § 2255 motion [Doc.
1385], which the government opposes [Doc. 1753].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
relief authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 2255 “does not
encompass all claimed errors in conviction and
sentencing.” United States v. Addonizio, 442
U.S. 178, 185 (1979). Rather, to obtain relief, a petitioner
must establish (1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2)
a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an
error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the
entire proceedings invalid. Moss v. United States,
323 F.3d 445, 454 (6th Cir. 2003). He “must clear a
significantly higher hurdle than would exist on direct
appeal” and demonstrate a “fundamental defect in
the proceedings which necessarily results in a complete
miscarriage of justice or an egregious error violative of due
process.” Fair v. United States, 157 F.3d 427,
430 (6th Cir. 1998).
a petitioner alleging ineffective assistance of counsel must
satisfy the two-part test set forth in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1987). He must identify
specific acts or omissions to prove that counsel's
performance was deficient and that counsel did not provide
“reasonably effective assistance, ” id.,
as measured by “prevailing professional norms, ”
Rompilla v. Beard, 545 U.S. 374, 380 (2005). Counsel
is presumed to have provided effective assistance, and
petitioner bears the burden of showing otherwise. Mason
v. Mitchell, 320 F.3d 604, 616-17 (6th Cir. 2003);
see also Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689 (a reviewing
court “must indulge a strong presumption that
counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of
reasonable professional assistance”). A petitioner must
also establish “a reasonable probability that, but for
[counsel's acts or omissions], the result of the
proceedings would have been different.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. “An error by
counsel, even if professionally unreasonable, does not
warrant setting aside the judgment of a criminal proceeding
if the error had no effect on the judgment.”
Id. at 691; see also Smith v. Robbins, 528
U.S. 259, 285-86 (2000). Because a petitioner “must
satisfy both prongs of Strickland to obtain
relief on an ineffectiveness claim, the inability to prove
either one of the prongs- regardless of which one-relieves
the reviewing court of any duty to consider the other.”
Nichols v. United States, 563 F.3d 240, 249 (6th
Cir. 2009) (en banc) (emphasis in original);
accord Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697.
Petitioner's Motion Is Insufficient In Form And
motion is a two page, hand-written letter. Although the
letter appears to be signed by Petitioner, the signature is
neither given under oath nor by affirmation. Thus, the motion
violates the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b)(5).
Moreover, the motion substantively amounts to a request for
an “extension” of time in which to file (1) the
actual recitation of the “facts of this appeal”
and (2) a statement of the “grounds” of the
appeal. As such, the Motion fails to satisfy the requirements
that a §2255 motion must:
(1) specify all the grounds for relief available to the
moving party; and
(2) state the facts supporting each ground.
2(b), Rules Governing Section 2255 cases in the United States
the motion requests the appointment of counsel, because, as
Petitioner states, “I wish to not go farther until I
have proper representation.” However, a § 2255
motion is not a proper vehicle to request the appointment of
counsel. Moreover, Petitioner filed a prior ...