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England v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 17, 2017

CARTIS ENGLAND, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Movant filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF No. 1), arguing that the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (“the Act”) was unconstitutionally enacted and that, as a result, his conviction and custody are illegal. Movant filed a memorandum in support of his motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence (ECF No. 6), as well as several supplements (ECF Nos. 8, 9, 16). The Government has filed a response in opposition (ECF No. 17), and Movant has filed a reply (ECF No. 21). For the reasons that follow, Movant's § 2255 motion is denied.

         I.

         On July 23, 2009, the Court sentenced Movant to 36 months in custody and 5 years of supervised release for possession of images of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). (United States v. England, No. 1:08-cr-215 (W.D. Mich.), J., ECF No. 57.) On May 2, 2013, the Court revoked Movant's supervised released and imposed a 46-month term of supervised release. (Id. at J. for Revocation, ECF No. 80.)

         On June 4, 2014, United States Probation Officer Smith visited Movant's residence and found violations of the conditions of supervised release. In response, Officer Smith filed a supervised release violation petition, alleging that Movant possessed child pornography, circumvented the probation officer's efforts to conduct a plain-view search of his home, accessed a computer, and lied to his probation officer about not accessing a computer. (Id. at Supervised Release Violation Pet., ECF No. 84.) On May 19, 2015, the Court found Movant guilty of those violations. The probation officer prepared an updated presentence report, and a psychological evaluation was conducted. During the sentencing hearing, Movant's daughter-in-law testified that she saw that Movant had a computer. On June 23, 2015, the Court sentenced Movant to the statutorily-mandated-minimum term of 5 years in custody. (Id. at J. for Revocation, ECF No. 98.) Movant did not file a direct appeal. Rather, he filed this § 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence.

         II.

         A prisoner who moves to vacate his sentence under § 2255 must show that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or that it is otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. To prevail on a § 2255 motion “‘a petitioner must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.'” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).

         Non-constitutional errors are generally outside the scope of § 2255 relief. United States v. Cofield, 233 F.3d 405, 407 (6th Cir. 2000). A petitioner can prevail on a § 2255 motion alleging non-constitutional error only by establishing a “fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice, or, an error so egregious that it amounts to a violation of due process.” Watson v. United States, 165 F.3d 486, 488 (6th Cir. 1999) (quoting United States v. Ferguson, 918 F.2d 627, 630 (6th Cir. 1990) (internal quotations omitted)).

         As a general rule, claims not raised on direct appeal are procedurally defaulted and may not be raised on collateral review unless the petitioner shows either (1) “cause” and “actual prejudice” or (2) “actual innocence.” Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 504 (2003); Bousley v. United States, 523 U.S. 614, 621-22 (1998); United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 167-68 (1982). An ineffective assistance of counsel claim, however, is not subject to the procedural default rule. Massaro, 538 U.S. at 504. An ineffective assistance of counsel claim may be raised in a collateral proceeding under § 2255, whether or not the petitioner could have raised the claim on direct appeal. Id.

         III.

         A. Comprehensive Crime Control Act

         In his original petition, Movant argues that the Act was unconstitutionally enacted; therefore, his conviction and custody are illegal. Movant did not raise this issue on direct appeal nor has he shown cause and prejudice or actual innocence to excuse his procedural default. Thus, he is barred from raising this claim.[1]

         B. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         In his memorandum in support of his § 2255 motion, Movant adds additional claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and judicial misconduct. Once again, Movant does not offer any reasons to show cause and prejudice or actual innocence as to the new judicial misconduct claim, so that claim is procedurally defaulted. In the several supplements filed, Movant also raises claims of Miranda violations and illegally-seized materials, both of which are also procedurally defaulted.[2] ...


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