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United States v. Shoemaker

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

April 30, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM JOHN SHOEMAKER

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Kenneth M. Hoyt United States District Judge

         William John Shoemaker pled guilty to willfully failing to truthfully account for and pay over tax, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7202. This Court sentenced him to a 41 month term of imprisonment and three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $1, 830, 324.78 in restitution. See Judgment (Doc. # 28). This case is before the Court on Shoemaker's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence (Doc. # 42), the government's motion for summary judgment (Doc. # 48), and Shoemaker's response (Doc. # 49). Having carefully considered Shoemaker's motion, the government's motion, Shoemaker's response, all the arguments and authorities submitted by the parties, and the entire record, the Court is of the opinion that the government's motion should be granted, and Shoemaker's motion should be denied.

         I. Background

         Shoemaker was indicted on 20 counts pertaining to his failure to turn over withheld payroll taxes from a retail clothing store that he owned. Shoemaker pled guilty to one count of willfully failing to truthfully account for and pay over tax.

         II. Applicable Legal Standards

         Shoemaker brings this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides for relief “for errors that occurred at trial or sentencing.” Jeffers v. Chandler, 253 F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 2001). A movant may obtain relief by showing

that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack . . . .

28 U.S.C.A. § 2255(a).

         III. Analysis

         Shoemaker's motion asserted two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. In his response to the motion for summary judgment, he expressly abandons one of them. See Response (Doc. # 49) at 3.

         To prevail on his remaining claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, Petitioner

must show that . . . counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the “counsel” guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Second, the [petitioner] must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. This requires showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable.

Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). In order to prevail on the first prong of the Strickland test, Petitioner must demonstrate that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Id. at 687-88. Reasonableness is measured against prevailing professional norms, and must be viewed under the totality of the circumstances. Id. at 688. Review of counsel's performance is deferential. Id. at 689.

         In his remaining claim, Shoemaker contends that counsel was ineffective by failing to learn about an impending change to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines which would have reduced Shoemaker's base offense level from 24 to 22, resulting in a shorter sentence. Shoemaker argues that counsel should have been aware ...


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