United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
REIDINGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner's
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. [Doc. 1].
Samuel Zuniga Medina entered into a written plea agreement
with the Government and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A) and 846.
[Crim. Case No. 1:16-cr-00051-MR-WCM-2 (“CR”),
Doc. 113 at 4-15: Presentence Report (hereinafter
“PSR”)]. In exchange for Petitioner's plea,
the Government agreed, among other things, to move to dismiss
seven additional charges of possession with intent to
distribute methamphetamine, for which Petitioner had been
indicted. [CR Doc. 14: Indictment; CR Doc. 89: Plea
Agreement]. The Government also agreed to move to dismiss an
additional charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance
of a drug-trafficking crime, which carries a consecutive
mandatory minimum prison term of five years. See 18
U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i).
plea agreement states that Petitioner discussed with his
attorney “defendant's rights pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3742, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and similar authorities
to contest a conviction and/or sentence through an appeal or
post-conviction [action] after entering into a plea
agreement.” [CR Doc. 89 at 4-5]. In exchange for the
concessions made by the Government in the Plea Agreement,
Petitioner expressly agreed to waive all such rights to
appeal or collaterally attack his conviction “except
for claims of: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel or (2)
prosecutorial misconduct.” [Id.].
Magistrate Judge accepted Petitioner's guilty plea after
conducting the plea colloquy required by Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 11. [CR Doc. 93: Acceptance and Entry of
Guilty Plea]. Petitioner was represented by counsel and
placed under oath. [Id. at 1]. The Court described
the elements of the offense and the applicable penalties, and
Petitioner affirmed that he understood them. [See
id. at 3-4]. Petitioner affirmed that he was, in fact,
guilty of the offense to which he was pleading guilty.
[Id. at 6]. He told the Court that he understood
that his plea agreement waived his right to contest his
conviction in a post-conviction proceeding. [Id. at
7-8]. He represented that he had “ample time” to
discuss with his attorney “any possible defenses”
that he may have to the charges and told him
“everything that [he] want[ed his] attorney to know
about [the] case.” [Id. at 8]. He also
affirmed that he was “entirely satisfied with the
services of [his] attorney.” [Id.]. The
Magistrate Judge found that the plea was knowingly and
voluntarily made and accepted it. [Id. at 9].
probation officer prepared a presentence report (PSR), which
determined, among other things, that Petitioner was
responsible for 29.3 grams of a mixture or substance
containing methamphetamine plus 448.7 grams of actual
methamphetamine. [CR Doc. 113 at 15-17]. The PSR noted that
Petitioner's attorney did not file any objections,
[id. at 26], and Petitioner's attorney confirmed
on the record during the sentencing hearing that he had not
filed any departure motions or sentencing memoranda, and that
there were no issues regarding the PSR that needed to be
resolved. [CR Doc. 134 at 3, 9: Sentencing Tr.]. Petitioner
saw a copy of the presentence report before he was sentenced.
[Id. at 8]. He told this Court at sentencing that he
had an opportunity to review it with his attorney and that he
understood the contents of the report. [Id.].
Petitioner's attorney confirmed that he had an
opportunity to review the report with Petitioner and told the
Court he was satisfied that Petitioner understood its
sentencing Petitioner, this Court reviewed the plea colloquy
conducted by the Magistrate Judge. [Id. at 4-8].
Petitioner confirmed that the answers he gave during the plea
colloquy were true and correct. [Id. at 4-5]. He
then affirmed that his answers would be the same if he were
asked the same plea-colloquy questions again on the day of
his sentencing. [Id.]. Asked if it was “still
[his] plea to plead guilty in this matter, ” Petitioner
replied, “Yes, sir.” [Id. at 6-7]. This
Court confirmed the findings of the Magistrate Judge during
the plea colloquy and reaffirmed the Court's acceptance
of his guilty plea. [Id. at 7-8]. The Court adopted
the PSR, including its conclusion that Petitioner had earned
a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. [CR
Doc. 126 at 1: Statement of Reasons; CR Doc. 113 at 17].
Petitioner's attorney advocated for a lower sentence,
this Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of imprisonment of
188 months, within the 168 to 210-month advisory range as
calculated pursuant to the United States Sentencing
Guidelines. [Id. at 9, 10-18, 25]. The Fourth
Circuit dismissed Petitioner's appeal on October 11,
2017. [CR Doc. 136]. In October 2018, Petitioner filed his
timely 2255 motion before this Court. [Doc. 1]. The
Government filed its response on January 7, 2019. [Doc. 3].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings provides
that courts are to promptly examine motions to vacate, along
with “any attached exhibits and the record of prior
proceedings . . .” in order to determine whether the
petitioner is entitled to any relief on the claims set forth
therein. After examining the record in this matter, the Court
finds that the motion to vacate can be resolved without an
evidentiary hearing based on the record and governing case
law. See Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529
(4th Cir. 1970).
presents two claims in his motion. First, he contends that he
received ineffective assistance of counsel. Second, he claims
that he was deprived of due process during the period of
pretrial detention. The Court will address each of these
claims in turn.
Petitioner's Ineffective Assistance ...