Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hatcher v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

October 5, 2017

ROY HATCHER, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS E. JOHNSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Petitioner's Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss § 2255 Motion, filed March 29, 2017. (ECF No. 70.) Also pending in the above-styled criminal matter is Petitioner's letter-form Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF No. 71.) For the reasons that follow, the Court WITHDRAWS the reference to the United States Magistrate Judge. The Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss is GRANTED. The pro se Motion to Appoint Counsel is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 22, 2009, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Criminal Action No. 5:08-cr-00189, ECF No. 24.) At final disposition, Petitioner was classified as a career offender based on two prior convictions for wanton endangerment. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of 155 months of imprisonment followed by a three-year term of supervised release. (Id., ECF Nos. 31, 32.) Petitioner did not appeal.

         On June 23, 2016, Petitioner, acting through counsel, filed an Emergency Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (the § 2255 Petition).[1] (ECF No. 49.) Counsel argued that Petitioner was entitled to relief based upon the United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). The matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Dwane L. Tinsley for submission of proposed findings and a recommendation for disposition. On August 3, 2016, counsel filed a Supplemental Motion to Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. On August 22, 2016, the United States filed a motion to withdraw the reference and stay the § 2255 Petition until the Supreme Court issued its anticipated decision in Beckles v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2510 (2016). The Court denied that motion.

         The Supreme Court issued the Beckles decision on March 6, 2017, holding that the United States Sentencing Guidelines were not subject to a void for vagueness challenge under the Fifth Amendment. 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). Petitioner's counsel then filed a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss on March 29, 2017, citing Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Attached to the motion is a consent form signed by Petitioner.

         Meanwhile, Petitioner filed a pro se Motion to Appoint Counsel on May 18, 2017. Petitioner seeks the appointment of counsel for the purpose of investigating whether he qualifies for a sentence reduction under the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016).[2] The Court withdraws the reference to the United States Magistrate Judge and proceeds to consider the Motion to Appoint Counsel in conjunction with the Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Petitioner's pro se motion to raise a claim under Mathis clearly seeks post-conviction relief that is only available through a § 2255 proceeding. Given the present state of affairs, the Court must first determine whether Petitioner's pro se Motion to Appoint Counsel undermines the Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss. The Court concludes that the Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss remains valid. Petitioner filed his pro se motion in his criminal case, not his pending habeas case, and the argument offered in support of the request for counsel reflects Petitioner's mistaken belief that the § 2255 proceedings have already concluded. (Motion to Appoint Counsel, ECF No. 71 “[T]he attorney that I had during my previous legal proceedings I'm thinking no longer represents me since that is over.”). Further, while not made explicit in the Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss, circumstances suggest that Petitioner moved to withdraw the § 2255 Petition after the adverse decision in Beckles. Nothing in Petitioner's pro se motion contradicts the reasoned assessment of his counsel that Beckles cut off any hope of relief under Johnson, nor does the motion undermine Petitioner's voluntary consent to dismissal. The Court therefore GRANTS the Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss and DISMISSES the § 2255 Petition and its supplement WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         The Court now turns to the Motion to Appoint Counsel. As stated, the pro se motion seeks the appointment of counsel for the purpose of raising a claim under Mathis. The Court may appoint counsel for habeas petitions filed under § 2255 if “the interests of justice so require.” 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2). Appointment of counsel is unwarranted because the statute of limitations acts as a bar to the assertion of a Mathis claim. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) establishes a one-year statute of limitations for federal inmates seeking post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). The one-year period runs 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.