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Vidales v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

September 6, 2017

SERGIO MORENO VIDALES, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ED KINKEADE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Sergio Moreno Vidales's (Movant) motion to vacate, set-aside, or correct sentence pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the following reasons, the Court denies the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Movant and others were charged by a second superseding indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii) and 846 (count one), possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(viii) (count three), possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (count four), and possession of a firearm by an alien illegally in the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(5)(A) and 924(a)(2). (Doc. 451.). Unless otherwise indicated, all document numbers refer to the docket number assigned in the underlying criminal action, 3:11-CR-154-K(17). Movant pled not guilty, and a jury convicted him of all counts. The Court sentenced him to 276 months in prison for counts one and three to run concurrently with a 120-month sentence for count four, and to 60 months for count five to run consecutively to the sentences for counts one, three, and four. (Doc. 502 at 2.) The judgment was affirmed on appeal. (Doc. 519); United States v. Vidales, No. 13-10894 (5th Cir. July 21, 2014).

         Movant raises the following grounds:

(1) Counsel was ineffective for failing to:
(a) explain the law of conspiracy to him;
(b) explain the difference between d-methamphetamine and l-methamphetamine;
(c) explain the advantages of pleading guilty and explain that if he pled guilty his offense level could have been reduced;
(2) The law of conspiracy is unconstitutional.

         II. SCOPE OF RELIEF AVAILABLE UNDER § 2255

         “Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 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. Gaudet, 81 F.3d 585, 589 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). It is well-established that “a collateral challenge may not do service for an appeal.” United States v. Shaid, 937 F.2d 228, 231 (5th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982)).

         A failure to raise a claim on direct appeal may procedurally bar an individual from raising the claim on collateral review. United States v. Willis, 273 F.3d 592, 595 (5th Cir. 2001). Defendants may only collaterally attack their convictions on grounds of error omitted from their direct appeals upon showing “cause” for the omission and “actual prejudice” resulting from the error. Shaid, 937 F.2d at 232. However, “there is no procedural default for failure to raise an ineffective-assistance claim on direct appeal” because “requiring a criminal defendant to bring [such] claims on direct appeal does not promote the[] objectives” of the procedural default doctrine, “to conserve judicial resources and to respect the law's important interest in the finality of judgments.” Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 503-04 (2003). The Government may also waive the procedural bar defense. Willis, 273 F.3d at 597.

         III. INEFFECTIVE ...


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