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United States v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 3, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
HECTOR RODRIGUEZ, Respondent,

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

          TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Background

         Hector Rodriguez (“Rodriguez” or “Defendant”) has filed a motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (a “2255 petition”). More specifically, in his 2255 petition, Rodriguez asserts that a conviction in New York for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree is not a predicate offense under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) and therefore, he should not have been subject to an enhanced penalty as a career offender. For the reasons set forth below, Rodriguez's motion is denied.

         Discussion

         Rodriguez's Motion is Time-Barred

         Effective April 24, 1996, the statutes governing habeas corpus petitions for prisoners in state and federal custody were amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996) (“AEDPA”) to impose a one year statute of limitations period on the filing of all non-capital habeas petitions in federal courts. See 28 U.S.C. §2244(d)(1); see also Zuluaga v. United States, 971 F.Supp. 616 (D.Mass. 1997). Under the AEDPA, § 2255 motions must be filed within one year of the latest of:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claim presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). Rodriguez's 2255 petition is time-barred because as explained below, it was not filed within a year of any of the relevant triggering events under § 2255(f). First, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Rodriguez's petition for writ of certiorari on October 20, 2014-- almost two and a half years before Rodriguez filed his 2255 petition. Therefore, Rodriguez did not file his 2255 petition within one year of the date on which his conviction became final. Second, Rodriguez does not allege any kind of action by the Government that impeded his capacity to bring a motion under Section 2255. Third, as discussed in detail in the Government's opposition, Rodriguez did not bring his 2255 petition within one year of a newly recognized right made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review. See Government's Response To The 2255 Motion (Docket No. 163)(“Government's Response”), at pp. 4-5. Finally, the Rodriguez does not advance any facts supporting his claim that would not have been obvious to him at the time he was convicted and subsequently sentenced. See United States v. Cruz, No. 99-10172-GAO, 2016 WL 4083326, at *2 (D. Mass. July 20, 2016).

         Rodriguez's Claim is Procedurally Defaulted and Lacks Merit

         While it is not necessary for me to address the Government's remaining arguments, I note that for the reasons stated in the Government's Response and its Notice of Supplemental Authority (Docket No. 164), I find that Rodriguez is not entitled to relief on his 2255 petition because he has procedurally defaulted with respect to his lone claim for relief[1] and his claim is foreclosed by prior First Circuit precedent.

         Certificate ...


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