United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
Nora Lester Pro Se Defendant.
JAMES P. JONES, District Judge.
The defendant, proceeding pro se, filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging that her guilty plea to a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) was invalid. After reviewing the defendant's submissions and the record, I will summarily dismiss the § 2255 motion as untimely filed and without merit.
A grand jury of this court returned a multi-count, multi-defendant Indictment charging that defendant Nora Lester conspired to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute oxycondone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and 846 (Count One), and used and carried a firearm during and in relation to, and possessed a firearm in furtherance of, a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count Six). Lester pleaded guilty to both charges, pursuant to a written Plea Agreement. On December 12, 2005, I sentenced Lester to a term of 70 months on Count One and the statutory mandatory minimum term of 60 months on Count Six, to be served consecutive to the term on Count One, as required under § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) and (D)(ii). Lester did not appeal.
Lester signed and dated her § 2255 motion on October 25, 2013, alleging that her guilty plea to Count Six should be vacated because she was not "in possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime as defined by the statute." (§ 2255 Mot. 5.) The court advised Lester that her motion appeared to be untimely under § 2255(f) and would be summarily dismissed on that ground unless she provided additional information or argument demonstrating that her claims should be addressed on the merits. Lester has responded, asserting that her claims are timely filed under § 2255(f)(4) because she could only have discovered her claim after recent court decisions.
A person convicted of a federal offense has one year to file a § 2255 motion, starting from the latest of the following dates:
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). If the district court gives the defendant notice that the motion appears to be untimely and the defendant fails to make the requisite showing, the district court may summarily dismiss the motion. See Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 707 (4th Cir. 2002).
Lester's § 2255 motion is clearly untimely under § 2255(f)(1). Her conviction became final on December 27, 2005, when the ten-day opportunity to appeal the December 12, 2005 Judgment expired. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1)(A) (former version). Lester's one-year window ...