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Magana-Sanchez v. United States

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

March 27, 2017




         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Adan Magana-Sanchez's amended petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence [ECF No. 10].

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 19, 2013, Petitioner was indicted for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine (Count I), and conspiring to commit money laundering (Count II).[1] With regard to Count I--conspiring to distribute methamphetamine--the indictment stated “the quantity of methamphetamine involved in the offense was fifty grams or more, punishable under Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1)(A)(viii).”

         On October 14, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty to both Counts. During the plea hearing, the indictment was read to Petitioner, and he was advised Count I was punishable under § 841(b)(1)(A) as it involved more than fifty grams of methamphetamine. When asked if he understood the charges against him, Petitioner replied he did. In addition, the plea agreement stated, as to Count I, Petitioner “admits there is a factual basis for the plea, ” and an element of the crime was satisfied as he “entered into an agreement or understanding to distribute in excess of fifty grams of methamphetamine . . . [.]”

         The plea agreement further asserted the parties stipulated and agreed to the following facts: Petitioner entered into an agreement with Juan Sanchez-Hernandez ("Sanchez"), Ismael Miranda-Zarco ("Miranda") and others to distribute methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Missouri and elsewhere. Large quantities of methamphetamine were provided to Petitioner and Sanchez by Miguel Ceja-Pedrizco and Marco Ceja. Miranda obtained the methamphetamine from Petitioner and Sanchez, and arranged for the transportation of the methamphetamine to Missouri. Miranda sold the methamphetamine to distributors in Missouri who paid for the methamphetamine after distributing it to other individuals. Significant proceeds were generated from the sale of large quantities of methamphetamine by members of the conspiracy. Petitioner instructed Miranda how to return the proceeds from the methamphetamine sales to Petitioner and other members of the conspiracy. Miranda then directed the distributors to deposit cash from banks in Missouri to bank accounts in Texas and Washington.

         On September 28, 2012, Sanchez was stopped in Montana with “974 grams of methamphetamine (actual).” Sanchez was transporting the methamphetamine at the direction of Petitioner from Washington to Minnesota. During October, 2012, Petitioner contacted Pedrizco in order to get him to ship the methamphetamine faster. Pedrizco arranged for methamphetamine to be delivered from Mexico to a stash house in California. Sanchez was to pick up the methamphetamine at Petitioner's direction and to deliver it to other individuals. On November 17, 2012, Maria Munoz-Ramirez was stopped at a border check-point with “3.1 kilograms of methamphetamine (actual).” The methamphetamine was going to be delivered to Petitioner and Sanchez. With respect to Petitioner, the amount involved in the conspiracy attributable to him as a result of his own conduct, and the conduct of other conspirators reasonably foreseeable to him, was “more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine (actual).”

         In exchange for Petitioner's voluntary plea of guilty to Counts I and II, the government made certain concessions in the plea agreement. Specifically, the government agreed no further federal prosecution would be brought in the district relative to Petitioner's distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering between November, 2011 and September, 2013. The government also agreed not to file an information regarding Petitioner's prior conviction, which would have resulted in a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment for Count I.

         At the plea hearing, Petitioner acknowledged, under oath, he had the opportunity to read the plea agreement in its entirety before signing it. Also during the hearing, the government recited the same factual basis for Petitioner's plea just outlined above. Petitioner confirmed under oath he had no disagreement with any of the facts.

         A presentence report was prepared and Petitioner's guideline range was 210 to 262 months imprisonment. On January 9, 2015, Petitioner was sentenced to 190 months imprisonment. On March 11, 2015, Petitioner appealed his judgment and sentence. The United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a per curiam opinion affirming the District Court's judgment.

         Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief, styled “petition to consider possible submission of a § 2255 motion” [ECF No. 1], on June 24, 2016, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In that motion, Petitioner claimed he was entitled to relief under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).[2] On July 5, 2016, this Court entered an order giving the Public Defender's Office forty-five days to file an amended motion to vacate under § 2255. On August 23, 2016, Petitioner filed a “First Supplement” to his motion for post-conviction relief, which abandoned the Johnson claim. The Public Defender's Office subsequently filed a notice to the Court that counsel had determined there was nothing in the record that would support any relief for Petitioner pursuant to Johnson.

         On December 13, 2016, Petitioner filed an amended petition for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [ECF No. 10].[3] The petition alleged his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance by 1) failing to challenge the purity and weight of the methamphetamine for which he was sentenced, and 2) failing to challenge the jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Missouri for improper venue.


         A federal prisoner who seeks relief from a sentence on grounds “that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or the 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). To obtain relief under § 2255, the movant must establish a violation constituting “a fundamental defect which inherently results in the miscarriage of justice.” U.S. v. Gomez, 326 F.3d 971, 974 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting U.S. v. Boone, 869 F.2d 1089, 1091 n.4 (8th Cir. 1989)).

         Claims brought under § 2255 may be limited by procedural default. A movant “cannot raise a nonconstitutional or nonjurisdictional issue in a § 2255 motion if the issue could have been raised on direct appeal but was not.” Anderson v. U.S., 25 F.3d 704, 706 (8th Cir. 1994) (citing Bedford v. U.S., 975 F.2d 301, 313 (7th Cir. 1992)). Claims, including those concerning constitutional or jurisdictional issues, unraised on direct appeal cannot be subsequently raised in a § 2255 motion, unless the movant can establish “(1) cause for the default ...

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