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Sanchez-Elorza v. United States

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 27, 2016

ALFONSO SANCHEZ-ELORZA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Edward J. Lodge, United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court in the above-entitled matter is Petitioner's § 2255 Motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence. (CV Dkt. 1) (CR Dkt. 126.)[1] In response, the Government has filed a Motion to Dismiss to which Petitioner has replied. (CV Dkt. 5, 7.) The matter is ripe for the Court's consideration.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The Indictment in this case charged the Petitioner Alfonso Sanchez-Elorza with Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Deported Alien Found in the United States. (CR Dkt. 27.)

         On December 13, 2011, Petitioner Alfonso Sanchez-Elorza plead guilty to the charge of Deported Alien Found in the United States and elected to proceed to trial on the remaining charges in the Indictment. (CR Dkt. 27, 58.) The trial began on December 13, 2011 and concluded on December 15, 2011 when the Jury returned a verdict of guilty on both of the remaining counts. (CR Dkt. 64, 68.) On March 12, 2012, this Court sentenced Mr. Sanchez-Elorza to a total of 176 months incarceration to be followed by a term of supervised release. (CR Dkt. 83, 86.) A Notice of Appeal was filed. (CR Dkt. 87.) On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the final judgment and, on May 30, 2013, issued its mandate. (CR Dkt. 123, 124.)[2]

         On November 12, 2013, Petitioner timely filed the instant § 2255 Motion. (CR Dkt. 126) (CV Dkt. 1.)[3] The Government responded by filing its Motion to Dismiss on February 13, 2014. (CV Dkt. 5.) The Court finds as follows.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 2255 permits a federal prisoner in custody under sentence to move the court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence on the grounds 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 ....

§ 2255(a); see also Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 426-27 (1962) (articulating the four grounds upon which § 2255 relief can be claimed).

         There is a distinction between constitutional and jurisdictional errors and errors of law or fact. Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 593 (2d ed. 1982). If the alleged error is one of law or fact, then § 2255 does not provide a basis for collateral attack “unless the claimed error constituted ‘a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'” United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979) (citing Hill, 368 U.S. at 428). Section 2255 is not a substitute for appeal. Id. at 184. If the matter has been decided adversely to the defendant on direct appeal, the matter cannot be relitigated on collateral attack. Clayton v. United States, 447 F.2d 476, 477 (9th Cir. 1971); Feldman v. Henman, 815 F.2d 1318 (9th Cir. 1987).

         ANALYSIS

         The § 2255 Motion in this case raises claims of ineffective assistance of counsel by both trial and appellate counsel and abuse of discretion by the Court at sentencing. (CV Dkt. 1, 7.) The Government asserts the ...


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