United States District Court, D. Idaho
MATT E. RUCK, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
HONORABLE EDWARD J. LODGE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court in the above entitled matters are
Petitioner's Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence under § 2255 and other related
Motions. The parties have filed their responsive
briefing on the Motions or the time for doing so has passed.
The matters are, therefore, ripe for the Court's review.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Matt E. Ruck, was charged with a number of crimes in three
separate criminal cases: 3:14-cr-246-EJL (wire fraud and
theft of government property), 3:15-cr-62-EJL (unlawful
possession of firearms and ammunition), and 3:16-cr-183-EJL
(making false statements on a certification to the General
Services Administration System for Award Management). Mr.
Ruck proceeded to trial on the wire fraud and theft charges
and was convicted on all fourteen counts. (CR 80,
3:14-cr-246-EJL.) Thereafter, Mr. Ruck plead guilt to the
remaining charges in the other two cases pursuant to a
written plea agreement. (CR 58, 3:15-cr-62-EJL and CR 4,
3:16-cr-183-EJL.) On November 1, 2016, the Court sentenced
Mr. Ruck to 60 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of
supervised release on each count in each case to run
concurrently. In addition, the Court ordered Mr. Ruck to pay
$206, 081.35 in restitution.
Ninth Circuit affirmed Mr. Ruck's convictions and
sentences and, on April 30, 2018, issued its mandate. (CR
105.) Thereafter, in August and September of 2018, Petitioner
filed timely Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence pursuant to § 2255 in each of his three cases.
The cases have been consolidated with Case Number
3:18-cv-390-EJL being assigned as the Lead Case. (CV 8.)
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 ....
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a); see also Hill v. United
States, 368 U.S. 424, 426-27 (1962) (stating the four
grounds for § 2255 relief). Relief under § 2255 is
afforded “[i]f the court finds that...there has been
such a denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of
the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to
collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).
standard of review for § 2255 petitions is
“stringent” and the court “presumes earlier
proceedings were correct.” United States v.
Nelson, 177 F.Supp.2d 1181, 1187 (D. Kan. 2001)
(citation omitted). To prevail on a § 2255 motion, the
“defendant must show a defect in the proceedings which
resulted in a ‘complete miscarriage of
justice.'” Id. (quoting Davis v.
United States, 417 U.S. 333, 346 (1974)).
“[R]elief is not available merely because of error that
may have justified reversal on direct appeal.”
United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982);
United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 184
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a hearing must be granted
“[u]nless the motion and the files and records of the
case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). In determining
whether a hearing is required, “[t]he standard
essentially is whether the movant has made specific factual
allegations that, if true, state a claim on which relief
could be granted.” United States v. Withers,
638 F.3d 1055, 1062 (9th Cir. 2011). Where, however,
“it plainly appears from the motion, any attached
exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving
party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the
motion, ” see Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing
Section 2255 Proceedings. Mere “conclusory statements
in a § 2255 motion are not enough to require a
hearing.” See United States v. Johnson, 988
F.2d 941, 945 (9th Cir. 1993).
§ 2255 Petition
§ 2255 Motions raise claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel alleging his trial counsel failed to object to 1) the
Government's breaches of the Plea Agreement; 2) the
restitution amount; and 3) the Court's guidelines
calculation. (CV 1.) Further, Petitioner claims his appellate
counsel was ineffective for failing to raise issues on
appeal. (CV 1.)
Sixth Amendment guarantees “the right to effective
assistance of counsel.” McMann v. Richardson,
397 U.S. 759, 771 n. 14 (1970). The two-prong standard for
evaluating a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of
counsel claim is set forth in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). “To be entitled
to habeas relief due to the ineffectiveness of defense
counsel, petitioner must establish both that counsel's
performance was deficient and that the deficiencies
prejudiced the defense.” Medina v. Barnes, 71
F.3d 636, 368 (9th Cir. 1995) (quoting Strickland,
466 U.S. at 687, 689). Mere conclusory allegations do not
prove that counsel was ineffective. See Shah v. United
States, 878 F.2d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 1989). A
petitioner claiming ineffective assistance of counsel must
allege specific facts which, if proved, would demonstrate
that counsel's actions were 1) deficient and 2)
prejudicial. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687-690, 696;
Weaver v. Massachusetts, 137 S.Ct. 1899, 1909-10
(2017). The Court need not determine whether counsel's