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Goodman v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

September 30, 2014

ERIC LENARD GOODMAN, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal Action No. 2:11cr145

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RAYMOND A. JACKSON, District Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion submitted pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody ("§ 2255 Petition") filed by Eric Lenard Goodman ("Petitioner"). Having thoroughly reviewed the parties' filings in this case, the Court finds this matter is ripe for judicial determination. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's § 2255 Petition is DISMISSED.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Petitioner was indicted on August 18, 2011, and charged with one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by means of Robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), four counts of Interference with Commerce by Means of Robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and four counts of Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924 (c)(1)(A)(ii).

On November 16, 2011, Petitioner pleaded guilty to Counts Three and Eleven of the Indictment. Both counts charged Petitioner with Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. On February 29, 2012, the Court determined that the applicable Guidelines range was 384 months to life and sentenced Petitioner to eighty-four (84) months imprisonment on Count Three to be served consecutively to a sentence of three hundred (300) months imprisonment on Count Eleven. The remaining seven counts of the Indictment were dismissed at sentencing upon a motion by the United States.

On June 16, 2014, Petitioner, acting pro se, filed the instant § 2255 Petition. ECF No. 90. On July 18, 2014, the Government filed its Response, ECF No. 92, and on August 8, 2014, Petitioner filed his Reply, ECF No. 93.

In his § 2255 Petition, Petitioner raises four grounds for relief. First, he alleges that his counsel was constitutionally ineffective because Petitioner was "misinformed" about potential sentences that could result from his guilty plea. Second, Petitioner contends that his sentencing violated the United States Supreme Court's decision in Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), because he was sentenced "with facts that weren't found to be true or listed in the Indictment...." Third, Petitioner argues that the Court erred in not using the "modified categorical approach held in Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013)." Finally, Petitioner submits that he received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to file a timely Notice of Appeal after being specifically instructed to do so by Petitioner.

The Government argues that the Petition is time-barred because it was filed more than a year after the one-year period of limitation to file a § 2255 Petition. In the alternative, the Government argues that Petitioner has failed to show his counsel's representation fell below the objective standard of reasonableness as articulated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and that neither Alleyne v. United States , nor Descamps v. United States would provide Petitioner the relief he now seeks.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Section 2255 Generally

When a petitioner in federal custody wishes to collaterally attack his sentence or conviction, the appropriate motion is a § 2255 motion. United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203 (4th Cir. 2003). Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code governs post-conviction relief for federal prisoners. It provides in pertinent part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255. In a proceeding to vacate a judgment of conviction, the petitioner bears the burden of proving his or her claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958). Additionally, pro se filers are entitled to more liberal construction of their pleadings. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 970 (1978) (providing that a pro se petitioner is entitled to have his petition construed liberally and is held to less stringent standards than an attorney drafting such a complaint). When deciding a § 2255 motion, the Court must promptly grant a hearing "unless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). Motions under § 2255 "will not be allowed to do service for an appeal." Sunal v. Large, 332 U.S. 174, 178 (1947). For this reason, issues already fully litigated on direct appeal may not be raised again under the guise of a collateral attack. ...


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