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United States v. Mata-Soto

United States District Court, D. Kansas

January 24, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JUAN MATA-SOTO, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          KATHRYN H. VRATIL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 18, 2009, the Court sentenced defendant to life in prison. This matter is before the Court on defendant's Motion For Relief From Judgment In Prior 28 U.S.C. § 2255 And Audita Querela Proceedings Pursuant To Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) As His Waiver Of Appellate Rights Was In Violation Of Movant's Sixth Amendment Right To Effective Counsel (Doc. #486) filed August 7, 2017, which the Court construes as a second or successive motion to vacate sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For reasons stated below, the Court dismisses defendant's motion for lack of jurisdiction.

         Factual Background

         On March 26, 2009, a grand jury charged defendant with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii) and 846 (Count 1), possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine within 1, 000 feet of a school in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii) and 860(a) (Count 5), distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine within 1, 000 feet of a school in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii) and 860(a) (Count 6), and maintaining a residence for storing using and distributing methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 856(a)(2) (Count 8). See Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. #62). On April 13, 2009, defendant pled guilty to Count 1.

         On December 18, 2009, the Court sentenced defendant to life in prison.[1] Defendant did not appeal. John M. Duma represented defendant through sentencing.

         On December 20, 2010, defendant filed a pro se motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside Or Correct Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody (Doc. #325). Liberally construed, defendant's motion asserted that (1) the Court should have suppressed the statements of his co-defendants because officers violated the Fourth Amendment in obtaining the statements, (2) at sentencing, the Court erred in calculating defendant's guideline range by considering his proffer, the statements of his co-defendants and evidence which officers found at a home that two co-conspirators rented and (3) he did not knowingly enter a guilty plea because the Court did not conduct an adequate plea colloquy. Id. at 4, 15-27. On July 18, 2011, the Court overruled defendant's motion and denied a certificate of appealability. See Memorandum And Order (Doc. #358). The Court found that defendant's claims were barred by the waiver of collateral challenges in the plea agreement and that they lacked substantive merit. See id. at 5-10. The Tenth Circuit dismissed defendant's appeal for failure to prosecute. See Order (Doc. #391) filed June 8, 2012.

         On December 4, 2013, defendant filed a Petition For Writ Of Error Audita Querela To Invalidate Judgement [sic] For Breach Of Plea (Doc. #417). On December 12, 2013, the Court overruled defendant's motion. See Memorandum And Order (Doc. #418). The Tenth Circuit dismissed defendant's appeal based on his appellate waiver in the plea agreement. See Order (Doc. #427) filed June 4, 2014.

         In the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, defendant sought leave to file a successive Section 2255 motion to assert a claim based on newly discovered evidence. Defendant maintained that (1) counsel failed to advise him that he could enter an open plea and receive a reduced sentence without cooperating and (2) counsel promised that he would receive a sentence of ten years. On May 9, 2017, the Tenth Circuit denied defendant's request for leave to file a successive Section 2255 motion. See Order (Doc. #484).

         On August 7, 2017, defendant filed the instant motion for relief from judgment. Defendant argues that Duma (1) coerced him to plead guilty by a promise that he would receive a sentence of 135 months in prison, (2) misinformed him of his potential sentencing exposure and (3) allowed him to unknowingly waive his appellate rights. See Motion For Relief From Judgment (Doc. #486) at 3-12. Defendant also maintains that at the change of plea hearing, the Court erred by allowing defendant to enter a plea under the mistaken belief that he would receive a sentence within the range of 135 to 262 months in violation of Rule 11. See id. at 4, 7-8.

         Analysis

         I. Basis For Relief Requested In Defendant's Motion

         Initially, the Court addresses how to construe defendant's motion. Although defendant has filed his motion under Rule 60(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., the Court must determine if the motion is in fact an unauthorized second or successive petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See United States v. Nelson, 465 F.3d 1145, 1147 (10th Cir. 2006) (relief sought, not pleading's title, determines whether pleading is Section 2255 motion); United States v. Torres, 282 F.3d 1241, 1242, 1246 (10th Cir. 2002) (to allow petitioner to avoid bar against successive habeas petitions by styling petition under different name would severely erode procedural restraints under Sections 2244(b)(3) and 2255). To determine whether a Rule 60(b) motion represents a second or successive petition, a “true” Rule 60(b) motion, or a “mixed” motion, the Court considers separately each issue raised in the motion. Spitznas v. Boone, 464 F.3d 1213, 1224 (10th Cir. 2006). In the case of a mixed motion, the Court (1) addresses the merits of the true Rule 60(b) allegations as it would in any other Rule 60(b) motion and (2) if doing so is in the interest of justice, forwards the second or successive claims to the Tenth Circuit for authorization. Alford v. Cline, 696 F. App'x 871, 873 (10th Cir. 2017); Spitznas, 464 F.3d at 1217.

         The Court deems an issue raised in a Rule 60(b) motion to be part of a second or successive Section 2255 motion unless it (1) challenges only a procedural ruling (such as timeliness) which precluded a merits determination of the habeas application or (2) challenges a defect in the integrity of the federal habeas proceeding, provided that such a challenge does not itself lead inextricably to a merits-based attack on the disposition of a prior habeas petition. Spitznas, 464 F.3d at 1215-16. An issue should be considered part of a second or successive petition “if it in substance or effect asserts or reasserts a federal basis for relief from the petitioner's underlying conviction.” Id. at 1215.

         A. Claims Of ...


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