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Turntine v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 4, 2016

LUCIOUS TURNTINE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Crim. No. 13-10020

          ORDER AND OPINION

          James E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge.

         This matter is now before the Court on Petitioner Turntine's § 2255 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's Motion [1] is Denied.

         Background

         Petitioner pled guilty in a written agreement to one count of Hobbs Act robbery (Count 1) and one count of brandishing a firearm during the robbery (Count 2). In exchange for the benefits offered by the plea agreement, Turntine waived his right to appeal and collaterally attack his sentence. On March 6, 2014, Petitioner was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment on Count 1 and a consecutive term of 84 months on Count 2. He now brings this § 2255 action seeking to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2251 (2015), arguing that his Hobbs Act robbery conviction no longer qualifies as a “crime of violence, ” and that, as a result, his conviction for brandishing a firearm during the robbery cannot stand. This Order follows.

         Standard of Review

         A petitioner may avail himself of § 2255 relief only if he can show that there are “flaws in the conviction or sentence which are jurisdictional in nature, constitutional in magnitude or result in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Boyer v. United States, 55 F.2d 296, 298 (7th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 268 (1995). Section 2255 is limited to correcting errors that “vitiate the sentencing court's jurisdiction or are otherwise of constitutional magnitude.” Guinan v. United States, 6 F.3d 468, 470 (7th Cir. 1993), citing Scott v. United States, 997 F.2d 340 (7th Cir. 1993). A § 2255 motion is not, however, a substitute for a direct appeal. Doe v. United States, 51 F.3d 693, 698 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 205 (1995); McCleese v. United States, 75 F.3d 1174, 1177 (7th Cir. 1996). Federal prisoners may not use § 2255 as a vehicle to circumvent decisions made by the appellate court in a direct appeal. United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982); Doe, 51 F.3d at 698.

         Analysis

         Petitioner claims in his § 2255 Motion that his sentence is invalid because the Court found that he was eligible for a consecutive, mandatory sentence based on a finding that he had committed a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Initially, the Court must address whether Turntine's collateral attack waiver bars consideration of the present motion.

         Appeal and collateral attack waivers contained in plea agreements are generally enforceable. Hurlow v. United States, 726 F.3d 958, 964 (7th Cir. 2013). That being said, there are a few exceptions to this general rule; plea waivers are not enforceable if they are involuntary, if the sentence exceeds the statutory maximum, if the court relied on a constitutionally impermissible factor, or if there was ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to the negotiation of the plea agreement. Id., at 964-66; United States v. Behrman, 235 F.3d 1049, 1052 (7th Cir. 2000); Keller v. United States, 657 F.3d 675, 681 (7th Cir. 2011). Turntine does not assert any of these exceptions. In fact, he does not even mention his Plea Agreement or waivers, much less provide any argument as to ineffective assistance or involuntariness.

         Paragraph 10 of the Plea Agreement provides as follows:

The defendant also understands that he has a right to attack the conviction and/or sentence collaterally on the grounds it was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; that he received ineffective assistance from his attorney; that the Court was without proper jurisdiction; or that the conviction and/or sentence was otherwise subject to collateral attack. The defendant understands such an attack is usually brought through a motion pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255. The defendant and the defendant's attorney have reviewed Section 2255, and the defendant understands his rights under the statute. Understanding those rights, and having thoroughly discussed those rights with the defendant's attorney, the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to collaterally attack the conviction and/or sentence. The defendant's attorney has fully discussed and explained the defendant's right to attack the conviction and/or sentence collaterally with the defendant. The defendant specifically acknowledges that the decision to waive the right to challenge any later claim of the ineffectiveness of the defendant's counsel was made by the defendant alone notwithstanding any advice the defendant mayor may not have received from the defendant's attorney regarding this right. Regardless of any advice the defendant's attorney may have given the defendant, in exchange for the concessions made by the United States in this plea agreement, the defendant hereby knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to collaterally attack the conviction and/or sentence. The rights waived by the defendant include his right to challenge the amount of any fine or restitution, in any collateral attack, including, but not limited to, a motion brought under Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255.

         Turntine also agreed to statements in Paragraph 28 of the Plea Agreement indicating the informed and voluntary nature of the entire plea, including the waiver provisions.

I have read this entire Plea Agreement carefully and have discussed it fully with my attorney. I fully understand this Agreement, and I agree to it voluntarily and of my own free will. I am pleading guilty because I am in fact guilty, and I agree that the facts stated in this Agreement about my criminal conduct are true. No threats, promises, or commitments have been made to me or to anyone else, and no agreements have been reached, express or implied, to influence me to plead guilty other than those stated in this written Plea Agreement. I am satisfied with the legal services provided by my attorney. I ...

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