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Jaime-Sainz v. United States

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 15, 2019

BRENDA TRINIDAD JAMIE-SAINZ, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Brenda Trinidad Jamie-Sainz's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence. Civ. Dkt. 1. Having reviewed and considered the § 2255 Motion and the Government's Answer to Petitioner's § 2255 Motion (Civ. Dkt. 5), the Court denies the § 2255 petition and Jamie-Sainz's request for an evidentiary hearing.

         BACKGROUND

         On May 10, 2016, Jamie-Sainz was indicted with a co-defendant for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Crim. Dkt. 1. In July 2016, Jamie-Sainz pled guilty to all three counts of the Indictment without a written plea agreement. Crim. Dkt. 44.

         On October 17, 2016, the Court sentenced Jamie-Sainz to 210 months of imprisonment, with Counts 1, 2, and 3 to run concurrently. Crim. Dkt. 68. While her conviction and sentence were being appealed, Jamie-Sainz filed a pro se Motion for Relief Due to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Crim. Dkt. 79. After the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed Jamie-Sainz's conviction and sentence, the Court considered Jamie-Sainz's prior Motion for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Crim. Dkt. 99. The Court ordered Jamie-Sainz to either withdraw her prior motion or amend to a § 2255 petition. Crim. Dkt. 95. Instead, Jamie-Sainz submitted this Motion to Vacate Set Aside or Correct Sentence. Civ. Dkt. 1. The Court construed the filing as a Motion to Amend, which was granted. Civ. Dkt. 4. Furthermore, the Court found that Jaime-Sainz had waived attorney-client privilege by virtue of alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Civ. Dkt. 4. The Court now considers the merits of her amended § 2255 Motion and her request for an evidentiary hearing.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         1. Standard for 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides four grounds on which a court may grant relief to a federal prisoner who challenges the imposition or length of his or her custody: (1) “that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States”; (2) “that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence”; (3) “that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law”; and (4) that the sentence is otherwise “subject to collateral attack.”

         Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings provides that a court may summarily dismiss a § 2255 motion “[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the motion and any annexed exhibits and the prior proceedings in the case that the movant is not entitled to relief.”

         A court need not hold an evidentiary hearing in a § 2255 case “when the issue of the prisoner's credibility can be conclusively decided on the basis of documentary testimony and evidence in the record.” Frazer v. United States, 18 F.3d 778, 781 (9th Cir. 1994). The court may dismiss the § 2255 motion at other stages of the proceeding such as pursuant to a motion by respondent, after consideration of the answer and motion, or after consideration of the pleadings and an expanded record. See Advisory Committee Notes following Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2254, incorporated by reference into the Advisory Committee Notes following Rule 8 of the Rules Governing 2255. If the court does not dismiss the proceeding, the court then determines, pursuant to Rule 8, whether an evidentiary hearing is required.

         2. Standard for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         To establish ineffective assistance of counsel, Jamie-Sainz must show (1) that her “counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, ” and (2) that there is a “reasonable probability” that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Conclusory allegations are insufficient to state a claim of ineffective counsel. Shah v. United States, 878 F.2d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 1989).

         When evaluating a defendant's representation, there is a strong presumption that counsel's performance falls “within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688. The reason being that, for the defendant, “[i]t is all too tempting ... to second-guess counsel's assistance after conviction or adverse sentence....” Id. For the Court, “it is all too easy to conclude that a particular act or omission of counsel was unreasonable in the harsh light of hindsight.” Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 702 (2002) (discussing Strickland).

         In order to establish prejudice, a defendant must affirmatively prove by a reasonable degree of probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. The Strickland standard is ...


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