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United States v. Saenz

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

July 27, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RAMIRO SAENZ, Defendant-Movant.

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody filed by Ramiro Saenz (“Defendant”). Doc. 54. On July 18, 2017, this matter was referred to the undersigned to conduct hearings, if warranted, including evidentiary hearings, and to perform any legal analysis required to recommend to the Court an ultimate disposition of this habeas action. See Doc. 58; 28 U.S.C. § 636; Rule 10, Rules Governing Habeas Corpus under Section 2255. I find that an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary because it is possible to resolve the issues on the pleadings, and the record establishes conclusively that Defendant is not entitled to relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Habeas Corpus under Section 2255. Having reviewed the submissions of the parties and the relevant law, and being otherwise fully advised, the Court recommends that Defendant's § 2255 Motion be denied.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 12, 2015, Defendant pled guilty to an Indictment charging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2), which prohibits felons from possessing firearms and ammunition. Doc. 36 (Plea Agreement) at 2. In entering into this agreement Defendant admitted to the following facts:

On or about August 21, 2014, in Doña Ana County, in the District of New Mexico, I possessed a Davis Industries, model P380, .380 caliber handgun, serial number AP482560; approximately thirty-five (35) rounds of .380 caliber ammunition; approximately forty-four (44) rounds of .38 special ammunition; and approximately seventeen (17) rounds of Winchester .380 ammunition. I had previously been convicted of possession or a firearm or destructive device by a felon, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The firearm and ammunition I possessed traveled in interstate commerce before I possessed them.

         Id. at 4. In exchange for Defendant's plea of guilty, the government agreed to recommend a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility and a two-level downward variance to the sentencing judge. Id. at 5.

         The agreement, however, made explicit that these “stipulations” were not binding on the sentencing court:

The defendant understands that the above stipulations are not binding on the Court and that whether the Court accepts these stipulations is a matter solely within the discretion of the Court after it has reviewed the presentence report. Further, the defendant understands that the Court may choose to vary from the advisory guideline sentence. The defendant understands that if the Court does not accept any one or more of the above stipulations and reaches an advisory guideline sentence different than accepted by the defendant, or if the Court varies from the advisory guideline range, the defendant will not seek to withdraw the defendant's plea of guilty. In other words, regardless of any stipulations the parties may enter into, the defendant's final sentence is solely within the discretion of the Court.

Id. at 5-6 (emphasis added). Defendant further agreed that his “plea of guilty [was] freely and voluntarily made” and that “[t]here have been no representations or promises from anyone as to what sentence the Court will impose.” Id. at 7. The import of this provision was made clear by Magistrate Judge Gregory B. Wormuth, who accepted Defendant's plea:

THE COURT: What you have to understand about both of those agreements, and really everything that's under the stipulation section, is that those are simply agreements you have with the prosecutor, you know, with the U.S. Attorney's office.
THE DEFENDANT: Right. Right.
THE COURT: So, you know, if you go to your sentencing, you know, judge, it's possible that he or she could refuse to give you those reductions. And if that happened, you wouldn't be allowed to withdraw your guilty plea.
Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

         Doc. 57-1 (Transcript of Plea Hearing) at 11-12.

         In the agreement, Defendant also agreed to waive his appellate rights, and the right to collaterally attack his ...


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