United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
GONZALES RAMOS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant/Movant Joanna Castaneda's
motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 and memorandum of law in support. D.E.
53, 54. Movant seeks a sentence reduction under Amendment 794
to the Sentencing Guidelines based on her allegedly minor
role. The United States has moved to dismiss this action on
the grounds that the issue she raises is not cognizable under
28 U.S.C. § 2255. D.E. 65. For the reasons stated below,
Movant's motion is
8, 2013, Movant was charged with conspiracy and possession
with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of
methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A). On June 28, 2013, Movant pled
guilty to the conspiracy charge pursuant to a written plea
agreement with the Government in which she waived her right
to appeal or collaterally attack her conviction or sentence.
Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) calculated
Movant's base offense level, based on 15.572 kilograms of
methamphetamine, at 38. She received a two-level enhancement
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(5) because the offense
involved the importation of methamphetamine and she was not
subject to an adjustment for mitigating role. After credits
for safety valve and acceptance of responsibility, her total
offense level was 35. Movant's criminal history category
was I, resulting in a guideline range of 168- 210 months'
imprisonment. At sentencing, the Court adopted the PSR
without change and sentenced Movant to 120 months, to be
followed by five years' supervised release.
was entered September 13, 2013. Movant filed an appeal, which
was dismissed for want of prosecution on March 5, 2015.
Movant filed the present motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
on October 26, 2016. It is timely. See 28 U.S.C.
November 1, 2015, the United States Sentencing Commission
issued Amendment 794, which amended the commentary to
U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2 to clarify the factors a district court
should consider in making a determination of minor or
mitigating role. Movant claims that she is entitled to a
sentence reduction under Amendment 794 and that her current
sentence violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth
Amendment because she has not been treated equally with those
whose sentences were based upon the proper minor role
adjustment as the Sentencing Commission intended.
28 U.S.C. § 2255
are four cognizable grounds upon which a federal prisoner may
move to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence: (1)
constitutional issues, (2) challenges to the district
court's jurisdiction to impose the sentence, (3)
challenges to the length of a sentence in excess of the
statutory maximum, and (4) claims that the sentence is
otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. §
2255; United States v. Placente, 81 F.3d 555, 558
(5th Cir. 1996). Section 2255 relief “is reserved for
transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow
range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct
appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete
miscarriage of justice.” United States v.
Vaughn, 955 F.2d 367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992).
claims her sentence is unconstitutional because she did not
receive a downward adjustment for minor role under U.S.S.G.
§ 3B1.2. “A district court's technical
application of the Guidelines does not give rise to a
constitutional issue cognizable under § 2255.”
United States v. Segler, 37 F.3d 1131, 1134 (5th
Cir. 1994) (citing United States v. Vaughn, 955 F.2d
367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992)). Thus, she is not entitled to
relief under § 2255 on this claim.