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Plunkett v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 16, 2017

JAMAR E. PLUNKETT, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         This matter is now before the Court on Petitioner Jamar Plunkett's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 1).[1] The Government opposes the petition arguing that his appeal waiver bars the claims he is trying to raise, that his counsel was not ineffective, and that even if neither of those propositions held true, there was no error in his plea agreement or sentencing in light of the Supreme Court's latest ruling on the provisions he was sentenced under (Docs. 8). Petitioner Plunkett had multiple opportunities throughout the proceedings to reply to the Government's arguments (Docs. 15, 20, 21, 24, 30). The matter is now before the Court for a decision. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court finds that Petitioner Plunkett is not entitled to the relief he seeks, nor does this case warrant an evidentiary hearing.

         II. Facts

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, Plunkett pled guilty to a single-count indictment for distribution of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(c). (CM/ECF, S.D. Ill., Case No. 13-CR-30003-MJR, Doc. 11). The plea colloquy in Plunkett's case shows that the Court took numerous steps to ensure that he understood the plea agreement he was entering (See Doc. 51). Of particular importance to the matter before the Court, Plunkett indicated that he had sufficient time to discuss his case with his counsel, that he fully understood the potential sentencing range, that he knew he was waiving his right to direct and collateral appeals for all but a limited number of issues, and that he understood the Court would not be bound by the recommendation in the agreement.

Court: You have a maximum of 30 years, but the minimum under the guidelines will be somewhere lower than that, I assume, and according to the plea agreement that's estimated to be what I told you before, the 188 to 235 months[…]
All right. Now your plea agreement also provides that in the event-well, provides that by pleading guilty you're waiving all appellate issues that you could have exercise in the event of a trial. And you acknowledge that you've been provided discovery compliance in your case. Is that right?
Plunkett: Yes, sir.
Court: Okay. You're aware that under Title 18 and Title 28, and other provisions of the U.S. Code, you have a limited right to contest a conviction or sentence in aggravation or sentence under through appeal or collateral attack, and that you are knowingly and voluntarily waiving your right to contest any aspect of your conviction and sentence that could be contested under Title 18, Title 28, or any other provisions of federal law, except that if the sentence imposed is in excess of the advisory guidelines as determined by the Court.
You preserve the right to appeal the reasonableness of the sentence. And that you acknowledge that if you do take such an appeal, the Government has the right to oppose it. But your waiver of your right to appeal or bring collateral challenges shall not apply if they add to any subsequent change in the interpretation of law by the U.S. Supreme Court or Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit which has been declared retroactive by those courts and that renders you actually innocent of the charges, and appeals based upon guideline amendments that are made retroactive by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. And you reserve the right of course to oppose such claims. And your waiver of your appeal and collateral review rights would not affect the Government's right to appeal in your sentence[…]
Now are those substantially the terms of your plea agreement with the Government as you understand them?
Plunkett: Yes, sir.
[…]
Court: All right. I think I asked you this before, but I will again. Do you understand that if I do not accept the sentencing recommendation contained in your plea agreement, that you will still be bound by your plea ...

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