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United States v. Meade

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

September 25, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent/Plaintiff,
v.
DANIAL GENE MEADE, Petitioner/Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JULIE A. ROBINSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Danial Gene Meade’s Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (Doc. 124). The Government has responded (Doc. 126) by moving for dismissal of the motion as untimely because it was filed outside the applicable statute of limitations. After a careful review of the record and the arguments presented, the Court grants the Government’s motion.

I. Background

On February 17, 2011, a jury found Meade guilty on three counts: Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felon in Possession of Body Armor, and Felon in Possession of Ammunition (Doc. 89). On June 27, 2011, this Court sentenced Meade to 120 months’ imprisonment (Doc. 117). Meade did not appeal the judgment or his conviction.

On September 9, 2013, Meade filed the instant § 2255 motion seeking to vacate his sentence on eight different grounds all relating to ineffective assistance of counsel. More specifically, Meade contends that his counsel was ineffective because of counsel’s failure to object to several different pieces of evidence offered by the Government at trial, and that Meade was not properly informed of the “advantages” and “disadvantages” of appeal.[1]

II. Standard

Under § 2255(a):

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.

According to Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts:

The judge who receives the motion must promptly examine it. If it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion . . . .

An evidentiary hearing must be held on a § 2255 motion “unless the motion and files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.”[2] Because Meade appears pro se, his pleadings are to be construed liberally and not to the standard applied to an attorney’s pleadings.[3] If a petitioner’s motion can be reasonably read to state a valid claim on which he could prevail, the court should do so despite a failure to cite proper legal authority or follow normal pleading requirements.[4] However, it is not “the proper function of the district court to assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant.”[5] For that reason, the court shall not supply additional factual allegations to round out a petitioner’s claims or construct a legal theory on his behalf.[6]

III. Discussion

A defendant’s § 2255 motion is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), which establishes a one-year limitations period for federal prisoners seeking habeas relief.[7] This statute provides that a defendant has one year from the date his judgment of conviction became final to file his § 2255 motion.[8] In the context of the one-year limitation period for filing a § 2255 motion, a criminal conviction becomes final:

from the latest of-(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of time for seeking such review; (B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action; (C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral ...

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