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Norris v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 9, 2014

LATOSHIA R. NORRIS, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JEAN C. HAMILTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on pro se Movant Latoshia Renea Norris' Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, filed May 2, 2012. (ECF No. 1).

BACKGROUND

By way of background, on June 14, 2011, Movant pled guilty to one count of knowingly enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a). Neither the Government nor Movant filed objections to the Presentence Investigation Report, and on October 7, 2011, the Court sentenced Movant to 51 months imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. Movant did not appeal her conviction or sentence.

As stated above, Movant filed the instant § 2255 Motion on May 2, 2012[1], 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 charge or the consequences of the plea;
(2) That Movant's conviction was flawed because her confession/statement was coerced; and
(3) That Movant received ineffective assistance of counsel, in that counsel convinced her to execute a plea agreement without explaining the risks and benefits of the plea offer; failed to negotiate a lower sentence due to her status as a first time offender; and failed accurately to describe her role as a victim in the case, or to characterize her as someone influenced by her co-defendant.

(§ 2255 Motion, P. 4).

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).[2]

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).

DISCUSSION

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 charge 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....
THE COURT: And how old are you?
DEFENDANT: 25....
THE COURT: How far have you gone in school?
DEFENDANT: I got my GED....
THE COURT: Have you ever been treated for any kind of-any addiction to narcotic drugs?
DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: Have you ever been treated for any ...

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