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United States v. Gregg-Warren

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

July 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
JADA NICOLE GREGG-WARREN, Defendant/Movant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          NELVA GONZALES RAMOS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant/Movant Jada Nicole Gregg-Warren filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (D.E. 145), to which the Government responded (D.E. 191). For the reasons stated herein, Movant's § 2255 motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2013, Movant pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin and was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment. While she was in custody, Movant's sister and co-defendant, Georgia Michelle Gregg ("Georgia") took care of Movant's two children, T.R. and J.R. However, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) removed T.R. and J.R. from Georgia's home after she gave birth to a baby that tested positive for methamphetamine. On November 6, 2014, the 407th Judicial District Court of Bexar County, Texas, terminated Movant's parental rights of T.R. and J.R. and appointed DFPS as permanent managing conservators. DFPS placed the children under the care of Movant's half-brother and his wife, the Davises. However, after the Davises decided not to adopt T.R. and J.R. in 2015, DFPS began searching for new foster parents for the children.

         Giving rise to the current criminal case, on August 20, 2015, Movant and Georgia entered the Davises' home in the middle of the night, took the children, and drove to the U.S. Mexico border. The two sisters parted ways, and Movant and the children got into another car with Movant's husband and codefendant, Ivan Francisco Alvarez-Benavente ("Alvarez"). Movant and Alvarez took the children to Mexico, where Alvarez's family lived. Between October 18, 2015, and December 9, 2015, the sisters' father and codefendant, Thomas Gregg, wired money to Movant and Alvarez in Torreon, Mexico. In December 2015, Mexican Federal Police entered Alvarez's home, arrested Movant, and recovered the children. Movant and the children were returned to the U.S., and Georgia and Alvarez were subsequently arrested.

         On January 13, 2016, Movant was indicted on two counts of kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1201(a)(1) and 1201(g)(1). Pursuant to § 1201(g), each count carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment. On June 30, 2016, the Government filed a Criminal Information charging Movant with one count of kidnapping in violation of § 1201(a)(1) only, which eliminated the 20-year mandatory minimum. The same day, Movant pled guilty to the Criminal Information pursuant to a written Plea Agreement.

         The Presentence Investigation Report (PSR, D.E. 98) calculated Movant's base offense level at 32, and 2 levels were added under U.S.S.G. § 2A4.1(b)(4) because the victims were not released within 30 days. After credit for acceptance of responsibility, Movant's total offense level was 31. With a Criminal History Category of VI, her advisory Guideline range was 188-235 months' imprisonment. At sentencing, the Court adopted the PSR without change, granted defense counsel's motion for a downward departure, and sentenced Movant to 120 months.

         Judgment was entered November 2, 2016. Movant did not appeal. Her conviction ': therefore became final 14 days later, on November 16, 2016. She filed her § 2255 motion on November 15, 2017. It is timely.

         II. MOVANT'S ALLEGATIONS:

         Movant's § 2255 motion raises the following claims:

         A. The Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction;

         B. Trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to:

1. prepare and file certain motions;
2. file a direct appeal;
3. adequately communicate with Movant; and
4. perform an adequate investigation;

         C. The Government committed prosecutorial misconduct; and

         D. Movant's indictment, conviction, sentence, and process were "illegal.";

         III. 28 ...


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