United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. LEE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Hull filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence  pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
For the reasons stated below, the Court denies his motion.
and Procedural Background
2013, Hull was charged in an indictment with two counts of
transporting a minor across state lines for purposes of
prostitution (18 U.S.C. § 2423(a)) and one count of sex
trafficking a minor (18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)). Shortly
before his trial was scheduled, Hull pleaded guilty to a
superseding information in which he was charged with
facilitating the travel of a person in interstate commerce
for the purpose of illicit sexual activity (18 U.S.C. §
plea agreement, Hull admitted to acting as a pimp for
“BH, ” who at the time was under the age of
eighteen. See Plea Agreement (“PA”)
¶ 6, No. 13 CR 216, ECF No. 59. He further admitted that
he advertised BH for commercial sex in Illinois and arranged
for her to work in Illinois and Indiana as a prostitute under
his employ. Id. The plea agreement also details an
instance in November 2011 in which Hull arranged for BH to
travel to a motel in Indiana and advertised her for
commercial sex, and then traveled with her back to Illinois,
where he again advertised her for commercial sex.
plea agreement, Hull also waived certain rights, including as
Defendant [ ] understands that he is waiving all appellate
issues that might have been available if he had exercised his
right to trial. . . . [D]efendant knowingly waives the right
to appeal his conviction, any pre-trial rulings by the Court,
and any part of the sentence (or the manner in which the
sentence was determined) . . . . In addition, defendant also
waives his right to challenge his conviction and sentence,
and the manner in which the sentence was determined, in any
collateral attack or future challenge, including but not
limited to a motion brought under [§ 2255]. The waiver
in this paragraph does not apply to a claim of
involuntariness or ineffective assistance of counsel . . . .
Id. ¶ 19(c). In the very next paragraph of the
plea agreement, Hull acknowledged that “Defendant
understands that by pleading guilty he is waiving all rights
set forth in the prior paragraphs. Defendant's attorney
has explained those rights to him, and the consequences of
his waiver of those rights.” Id. ¶ 20.
Hull repeated that he understood this waiver on the record in
entering his plea, and the Court explained it to him again at
the sentencing hearing.
to the sentencing hearing, the probation office recommended
that a sentencing enhancement apply because Hull had
“engaged in a pattern of activity involving prohibited
sexual conduct” under § 4B1.5(b) of the U.S.
Sentencing Guidelines. Presentence Investigation Report
(“PSR”) ¶ 33, No. 13 CR 216, ECF No. 67. The
probation office noted in part that “[t]here is
sufficient evidence [Hull] had sex with BH on two occasions
while she was a minor.” Id. This
recommendation was consistent with Hull's plea agreement,
in which the parties agreed that the enhancement would apply.
PA ¶ 9(d).
appointed counsel, Keith Scherer, did not object to the
enhancement, and the Court adopted the Presentence
Investigation Report without any changes. See Stmt.
Reasons 1, No. 13 CR 216, ECF No. 89. The Court ordered a
sentence of 121 months, which, with the § 4B1.5(b)
enhancement, was within the applicable guidelines range. Hull
filed the present motion thereafter.
2255 provides that a criminal defendant is entitled to relief
from his conviction and sentence if “the court finds
that the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction, or that
the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise
open to collateral attack, or that there has been such a
denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the
prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral
attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). A court may deny a
§ 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing if
“the motion and the files and records of the case
conclusively show” that the defendant is not entitled
to relief. Id. Relief under § 2255 is available
“only in extraordinary situations, such as an error of
constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or where a
fundamental defect has occurred which results in a complete
miscarriage of justice.” Blake v. United
States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir. 2013).
raises three grounds for relief in his § 2255 motion.
First, he asserts that Scherer was constitutionally
ineffective for failing to file a notice of appeal on
Hull's behalf, despite Hull instructing him to do so.
Next, Hull contends that the Court improperly applied an
enhancement to his sentence pursuant to § 4B1.5(b) of
the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Finally, Hull maintains that
Scherer was constitutionally ...