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Lambert v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

April 11, 2018

TIMOTHY LAMBERT, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

         ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART AMENDED § 2255 MOTION, REFERRING MATTER TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE FOR POSSIBLE APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL, DENYING IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION AS MOOT, DIRECTING PETITIONER TO FILE A RENEWED IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION AND TRUST FUND ACCOUNT STATEMENT, AND DIRECTING CLERK TO SEND FORM

          DANIEL BREEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the amended motion of Petitioner, Timothy Lambert, to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“Amended Petition”). (Case Number (“No.”) 15-cv-01081, Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 21[1]; D.E. 7; D.E. 1.) For the reasons that follow, the Amended Petition is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 19, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Lambert with possessing and receiving a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(a), (e). (No. 13-cr-10014, D.E. 2.) Counsel was appointed to represent him. (Id., D.E. 6.)

         Defendant filed a motion to suppress the firearm as evidence, which was denied by the Court. (Id., D.E. 27.) On November 29, 2013, Defendant entered a conditional plea of guilty to the sole count of the indictment. (Id., D.E. 34; see D.E. 32.) By his plea, he waived his right to appeal his conviction and sentence, except with regard to the Court's decision to deny his motion to suppress. (Id., D.E. 34 at PageID 39.)

         On March 31, 2014, the Court sentenced Defendant under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), to 151 months' imprisonment, and three years of supervised release. (Id., D.E. 44 at PageID 93; id., D.E. 41.) Judgment was entered on April 3, 2014. (Id., D.E. 43.) The government filed a notice of appeal, (id., D.E. 45), which was later voluntarily dismissed, (id., D.E. 52). Defendant filed a pro se notice of appeal on November 26, 2014, (id., D.E. 57), which was dismissed as untimely, (id., D.E. 67 at PageID 139-40).

         In April 2015, the inmate initiated the instant § 2255 proceedings. (D.E. 1.) The Amended Petition, which is comprised of the original § 2255 motion, (D.E. 1), and later amendments, (D.E. 21; D.E. 7), sets forth the following claims:

Claim 1: Defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by “failing to file an appeal to defendant[']s motion to suppress hearing” after Petitioner “requested his attorney to file an appeal” and after counsel “informed defendant that he was going to file an appeal.” (D.E. 21 at PageID 116; D.E. 1 at PageID 4.)
Claim 2: Defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by “failing to argue that defendant[']s prior convictions did not qualify” as predicate convictions for sentence enhancement under the ACCA. (D.E. 1 at PageID 5.)
Claim 3: “Petitioner . . . is actual[lly]/factual[ly] innocent of [the sentence enhancement under] the ACCA” because his “prior convictions were held ‘Viod' [sic].” (D.E. 7 at PageID 57; D.E. 1 at PageID 7.)

         The government argues that Claims 2 and 3 are without merit, (D.E. 17 at PageID 84-88), but does not oppose entry of relief on Claim 1, (D.E. 23 at PageID 127-28).

         DISCUSSION

         For the following reasons, the Court concludes that Claim 1 should be granted. Because a delayed appeal is warranted, the ...


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