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United States v. Acosta

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

February 28, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
RONALD C. ACOSTA, Defendant/Movant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant/Movant Ronald C. Acosta's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody filed February 6, 2017 (Doc. 66). The Court will dismiss the § 2255 Motion as barred by the statute of limitations.

         I. Factual Background and Procedural History

         On February 23, 2011, Acosta was charged with one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute over 50 grams of a methamphetamine mixture in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). (Doc. 1). The United States filed an Information to establish prior convictions on July 1, 2011, showing that Acosta had two state court convictions for trafficking a controlled substance. (Doc. 29). A July 6, 2011 Information charged Acosta with one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute over 50 grams of a methamphetamine mixture in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). (Doc. 30).

         Acosta pled guilty to both counts of the Information on July 6, 2011. (Doc. 33). He was then sentenced to 300 months imprisonment and final Judgment was entered on his conviction on December 17, 2012. (Doc. 61). Consistent with his Plea Agreement, Acosta did not file a direct appeal from the final Judgment. Acosta did file a Motion to Reduce Sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), arguing that he was entitled to relief under U.S.S.G. Amendment 782. (Doc. 62). The Court determined that Acosta was not eligible for relief under Amendment 782 and dismissed the Motion to Reduce Sentence on April 20, 2016. (Doc. 64).

         Acosta filed his pro se Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody on February 6, 2017. (Doc. 66). In his § 2255 Motion, Acosta asks the Court to vacate his sentence and resentence him without the career offender enhancement, because he claims his prior state convictions should not have been used in light of the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Beckles v. United States, 580 U.S., No. 15-8544, slip op (March 6, 2017) and Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). (Doc. 66 at 4, 11).

         II. Analysis

         Acosta seeks collateral review of his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2255 provides:

“A prisoner in custody under a sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.”

         28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Section 2255(f) sets out the statute of limitations governing motions for collateral review of convictions and sentences:

         “A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.” Acosta did not appeal from the judgment of conviction. Absent a direct appeal or other proceeding attacking his conviction or sentence, Acosta's judgment of conviction became final in January 2013. His February 6, 2017 filing, more than four years after his conviction became final, ...

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