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Arnold v. United States

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

May 10, 2018

JASON PAUL ARNOLD, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION DENYING MOTION TO VACATE

          GORDON J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On March 17, 2014, a jury returned a guilty verdict for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon against Jason Arnold; Judge Robert Holmes Bell sentenced Arnold to 60 months imprisonment, with a three year term of supervised release. (No. 2:13-CR-6, ECF No. 68 & 110.) On July 10, 2017, Arnold filed a motion to vacate, set aside, and/or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 1.) On December 1, 2017, the government responded to Arnold's motion. (ECF No. 10.)

         The government accurately summarized (ECF No. 10 at PageID.43) Arnold's claims as follows:

Ground 1) All three of Arnold's attorneys provided ineffective assistance of counsel, and Attorney Zambon had a conflict of interest due to Arnold naming him as a defendant in a civil pleading.
Ground 2) Arnold's speedy trial rights were violated.
Ground 3) The Court denied his request to call witnesses during trial.
Ground 4) The Court denied his right to present evidence on his purported defenses of justification and coercion/duress.
Ground 5) The recording of his interview was altered.
Ground 6) Attorney Belli failed to raise valid arguments on appeal.
Ground 7) The Court changed some of Arnold's pleadings, e.g., from a writ of habeas corpus to a motion for reconsideration.
Grounds 8 & 9) Attorney Belli provided ineffective assistance during Arnold's second appeal.

         Arnold must show that his “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. The statute favors granting a hearing, but a hearing is not required if Arnold's allegations “‘cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.'”[1] Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999) (quoting Engelen v. United States, 68 F.3d 238, 240 (8th Cir. 1995)). Arnold's claims fit these exceptions, and a hearing is unnecessary.

         Claims are procedurally defaulted if they were not raised on direct appeal; Arnold may raise such procedurally-defaulted claims on collateral review only if he can show cause and prejudice. See Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 504, 123 S.Ct. 1690, 1693 (2003).

         In order to establish an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, a movant must show a “reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 694, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2068 (1984). The standard for analyzing ineffective assistance claims is “simply reasonableness under prevailing professional norms.” Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 521, 123 S.Ct. 2527, 2535 (2003) (quoting Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688, 104 S.Ct. at 2065). The Court must presume that the lawyer is ...


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