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Espinoza-Santos v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

June 7, 2017

NOEL ESPINOZA-SANTOS, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent..

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John NcBryed States District Judge

         Came on for consideration the motion of Noel Espinoza-Santos ("Espinoza") to vacate, set aside, or correct judgment under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Having reviewed the motion, the government's response, Espinoza's reply, and applicable legal authorities, the court concludes that the motion should be denied.[1]

         I.

         Background

         On June 5, 2015, Espinoza pleaded guilty to illegal reentry after deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1326(a) and (b) (1)/(2), CR Doc.[2] 32. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 13 0 months. Id. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed Espinoza's judgment on appeal, CR Doc. 42, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari, CR Doc. 48.

         The government does not dispute that Espinoza has timely filed his motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The pertinent facts are adequately summarized by the government's response and will not be repeated here.

         II. Grounds of the Motion

         Espinoza asserted two grounds in support of his motion. First, Espinoza alleged that counsel was ineffective for failing to move to strike Espinoza's Truth Affidavit on the ground it was filed by a represented party. Doc.[3] 1 at 5. Second, Espinoza claimed that counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him against pursuing correction of his date of illegal reentry without (or until he obtained) sufficient buttressing evidence to mitigate the risk of an obstruction enhancement. Id. at 6.

         III. Analysis

         A. Pertinent Legal Principles

         1. Legal Standard for 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         After conviction and exhaustion of any right to appeal, courts are entitled to presume that a defendant stands fairly and finally convicted. United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 164-65 (1982); United States v. Shaid, 937 F.2d 228, 231-32 (5th Cir. 1991) .

         Section 2255 does not offer recourse to all who suffer trial errors. It is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and other narrow injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice. United States v. Capua, 656 F.2d 1033, 1037 (5th Cir. Unit A Sept. 1981) . In other words, a writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed to do service for an appeal. Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 345 (1974). Further, if issues "are raised and considered on direct appeal, a defendant is thereafter precluded from urging the same issues in a later collateral attack." Moore v. United States, 598 F.2d 439, 441 (5th Cir. 1979) (citing Buckelew v. United States, 575 F.2d 515, 517-18 (5th Cir. 1978)).

         2. Legal Standard for Ineffective Assista ...


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