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Dinkins v. United States

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

July 25, 2018

ROBERT DINKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on movant Robert Dinkins' amended motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The government opposes the motion and movant has filed a reply and a supplemental reply. This matter is fully briefed and ready for decision. For the following reasons, movant's motion will be denied.

         I. Procedural Background

         On July 8, 2015, a one-count indictment charged movant with felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1). United States v. Dinkins, No. 4:15-CR-314-CEJ-1 (E.D. Mo.). Movant waived his right to a jury trial and requested a bench trial. At trial, the Court found movant guilty and subsequently sentenced him as an Armed Career Criminal to 180 months of imprisonment. With the assistance of counsel, movant filed a timely appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In his appeal, movant argued that the District Court erred in finding him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm because he was legally justified in possessing the firearm to protect himself and the community from imminent danger. On May 26, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court. United States v. Dinkins, 688 Fed.Appx. 408 (8th Cir. 2017).

         Movant filed a motion to vacate his sentence on August 22, 2017. After reviewing the file, the Court determined that the motion did not comply with Rule 2(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings in the United States District Courts because movant failed to specify grounds for relief and facts supporting each ground. The Court issued an Order on August 30, 2017, providing movant with the opportunity to submit an amended motion to vacate. (Doc. 6.) Movant filed the instant amended motion to vacate on September 13, 2017. (Doc. 10.)

         On September 21, 2017, the United States filed its response to movant's amended motion to vacate. (Doc. 13.) On October 5, 2017, movant filed a reply memorandum to the United States' response, which was incorrectly titled and docketed as “Motion of Grant Judgement [sic] on the Grounds Set Forth in Motive [sic] 2255 to Vacate for Relief.” (Doc. 14.)

         On April 12, 2018, after another review of the file, the Court found that the United States failed to address one of movant's grounds for relief and directed the United States to file a supplement to its response. (Doc. 16.) On April 18, 2018, the United States filed its supplemental response to movant's amended motion to vacate. (Doc. 18.) On April 23, 2018, movant filed a reply memorandum to the United States' supplemental response. (Doc. 19.) On May 7, 2018, without leave of Court, movant filed a supplemental response memorandum to the United States' initial response. (Doc. 22.)

         In movant's amended motion to vacate presently before the Court, movant asserts the following grounds for relief:

Ground One: The District Court improperly rejected movant's justification defense in violation of the 14th Amendment right to equal protection and the 5th Amendment right to due process.
Ground Two: Movant's trial counsel was ineffective because his attorney failed to present a defense that the Second Amendment permitted him to possess a firearm and failed to present a Fourth Amendment defense that the police officers did not have probable cause to arrest movant for possessing a firearm, although movant asked her to raise both defenses.
Ground Three: The District Court improperly sentenced movant “without jurisdiction” and “without representation” because counsel failed to file an entry of appearance in the case.
Ground Four: The District Court improperly rejected movant's justification defense in violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the Fifth Amendment right to due process.

         II. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a defendant may seek relief on grounds that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or law of the United States, that the court lacked jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, that the sentence exceeded the maximum authorized by law, or that the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. To warrant relief under § 2255, the errors of which movant complains must amount to a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333 (1974); Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428 (1962). The Supreme Court has stated that “a collateral challenge may not do service for an appeal.” United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982).

         “A § 2255 motion ‘can be dismissed without a hearing if (1) the [movant]'s allegations, accepted as true, would not entitle the [movant] to relief, or (2) the allegations cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.” Sanders v. United States, 341 ...


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