United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Movant Natalie Nicole Bonner filed a motion to
vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, asserting violations concerning her Eastern
District of Texas, Sherman Division conviction. For the
reasons stated below, and after due consideration, the Court
will deny the motion.
March 18, 2016, pursuant to a plea agreement, Movant pleaded
guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1349. The maximum penalty for the offense was
thirty years. Based upon a total offense level of 31, and a
criminal history category of III, the guideline range was 135
months to 168 months. Movant stipulated that an appropriate
sentence was eighty months’ imprisonment pursuant to a
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C) plea
agreement. The Court’s sentence of eighty months was
entered, and Movant did not file a direct appeal. Movant
filed the instant § 2255 motion on August 16, 2016. The
Government filed a Response, asserting that Movant’s
claims are barred by the waiver in her plea agreement, and
are otherwise without merit. Movant filed a Reply.
preliminary matter, it should be noted that a § 2255
motion is “fundamentally different from a direct
appeal.” United States v. Drobny, 955 F.2d
990, 994 (5th Cir. 1992). A movant in a § 2255
proceeding may not bring a broad-based attack challenging the
legality of the conviction. The range of claims that may be
raised in a § 2255 proceeding is narrow. A
“distinction must be drawn between constitutional or
jurisdictional errors on the one hand, and mere errors of law
on the other.” United States v. Pierce, 959
F.2d 1297, 1300-01 (5th Cir. 1992). A collateral attack is
limited to alleging errors of “constitutional or
jurisdictional magnitude.” United States v.
Shaid, 937 F.2d 228, 232 (5th Cir. 1991).
plea agreement, Movant waived her rights to plead not guilty,
to be tried by a jury, to have her guilt proved beyond a
reasonable doubt, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, to
call witnesses in her defense, and to not be compelled to
testify against herself. She also understood the charge and
the elements of the offense, as well as the thirty-year
maximum sentence she faced.
stipulated that an appropriate sentence was eighty
months’ imprisonment, and that her guilty plea was
freely and voluntary given, and not the result of force,
threats, or promises, other than those contained in the
written plea agreement. Also included in her plea agreement
was the following waiver provision:
Except as otherwise provided herein, the defendant expressly
waives the right to appeal the conviction, sentence, fine
and/or order of restitution or forfeiture in this case on all
grounds. The defendant further agrees not to contest the
conviction, sentence, fine and/or order of restitution or
forfeiture in any post-conviction proceeding, including, but
not limited to a proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The
defendant, however, reserves the right to appeal the
following: (a) any punishment imposed in excess of the
statutory maximum, and (b) a claim of ineffective assistance
of counsel that affects the validity of the waiver or the
Cause No. 4:15cr81(2) (Dkt. #152).
Fifth Circuit has upheld the informed and voluntary waiver of
post-conviction relief in United States v. Wilkes,
20 F.3d 651, 653 (5th Cir. 1994). In United States v.
Henderson, 72 F.3d 463, 465 (5th Cir. 1995), the Fifth
Circuit held that a waiver may not be enforced against a
§ 2255 movant who shows that ineffective assistance of
counsel rendered that waiver unknowing or involuntary. The
Fifth Circuit held that an ineffective assistance of counsel
claim raised in a § 2255 proceeding survives a waiver
only when the claimed assistance directly affected the
validity of that waiver or the plea itself, United States
v. White, 307 F.3d 336 (5th Cir. 2002), or when the
sentence exceeds the statutory maximum. United States v.
Hollins, 97 F. App’x 477, 479 (5th Cir. 2004).
Movant’s plea agreement, Movant states:
The defendant has thoroughly reviewed all legal and factual
aspects of this case with defense counsel and is fully
satisfied with defense counsel’s legal representation.
The defendant has received satisfactory explanations from
defense counsel concerning each paragraph of this plea
agreement, each of the defendant’s rights affected
thereby, and the alternatives to entering a guilty plea.
After conferring with counsel, the defendant concedes guilt
and has ...