United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
VICKI L. YORK, Movant,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
JEAN C. HAMILTON, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on pro se Movant Vicki L. York's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, filed April 23, 2013. (ECF No. 1).
By way of background, on February 23, 2012, Movant pled guilty to one count of knowingly conspiring to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(c)(1), and one count of knowingly possessing pseudoephedrine having reasonable cause to believe it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(c)(2). Neither the Government nor Movant filed objections to the Presentence Investigation Report, and on May 18, 2012, the Court sentenced Movant to 100 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. Movant's motion to dismiss her direct appeal was granted before a ruling was issued.
As stated above, Movant filed the instant § 2255 Motion on April 23, 2013, alleging the following three grounds for relief:
(1) That Movant's guilty plea was unlawfully induced, or entered involuntarily without a full understanding of the nature of the charges or the consequences of the plea;
(2) That Movant's conviction was coerced, as counsel promised her a reduction in sentence in exchange for her provision of substantial information to the police task force; and
(3) That Movant received ineffective assistance of counsel, in that counsel failed to investigate the facts, explain the discovery or review the presentence report with Movant; failed to advise Movant of the time limit for filing a notice of appeal and deceived her into thinking she could not appeal; and failed to investigate and prepare for sentencing.
(§ 2255 Motion, PP. 4-5, and attached Declaration of Vicki L. York).
STANDARDS GOVERNING MOTIONS UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a federal prisoner may seek relief on the ground 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). Claims based on a federal statute or rule, rather than on a specific constitutional guarantee, "can be raised on collateral review only if the alleged error constituted a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" Reed v. Farley, 512 U.S. 339, 354, 114 S.Ct. 2291, 129 L.Ed.2d 277 (1994) (citations omitted).
The Court must hold an evidentiary hearing to consider claims in a § 2255 motion "[u]nless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.'" Shaw v. United States, 24 F.3d 1040, 1043 (8th Cir. 1994) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255). Thus, a movant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing "when the facts alleged, if true, would entitle him to relief.'" Payne v. United States, 78 F.3d 343, 347 (8th Cir. 1996) (quoting Wade v. Armontrout, 798 F.2d 304, 306 (8th Cir. 1986)). The Court may dismiss a claim "without an evidentiary hearing if the claim is inadequate on its face or if the record affirmatively refutes the factual assertions upon which it is based." Shaw, 24 F.3d at 1043 (citation omitted).
I. Ground 1
As stated above, in Ground 1 of her § 2255 Motion Movant asserts her guilty plea was unlawfully induced, or entered involuntarily without a full understanding of the nature of the charges against her or the consequences of the plea. (§ 2255 Motion, P. 4).
During the Change of Plea Proceeding in the instant case, the District Court questioned Movant extensively with respect to her decision to plead guilty, as follows:
THE COURT: Now, do you understand that you are under oath, and if you would answer any of my questions falsely, you might later be prosecuted for making a false statement or for perjury?
DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am....
THE COURT: And how old are you?
THE COURT: And how far have you gone in school?
DEFENDANT: Tenth. I was working on my GED.
THE COURT: So approximately how far-
DEFENDANT: Ninth grade.
THE COURT: Ninth grade, okay. Have you ever been treated for any kind of mental illness?
DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Can you tell me a little about that? What illnesses have you been treated for and what kind of treatment have you received?
DEFENDANT: I've been on disability for anxiety and depression.
THE COURT: Have you been under the care of a physician or a psychiatrist?
DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Of a psychiatrist?
THE COURT: Are you presently going to a ...