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Rodriguez v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

November 4, 2019

RENEE RODRIGUEZ Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          JERRY H. RITTER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Ms. Rodriguez' Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence [CV Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1] filed on November 29, 201');">1');">1');">18. On June 1');">1');">1');">10, 201');">1');">1');">19, Senior United States District Judge Robert C. Brack referred the matter for recommended findings and final disposition to U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry H. Ritter. [CV Doc. 3]. The essential issues raised by Ms. Rodriguez' Motion are: whether Ms. Rodriguez has demonstrated that her defense attorney's performance on her behalf was deficient; whether she has shown resulting prejudice to her defense; and, if not, whether she has shown that could present better evidence on the first two issues if she were afforded an evidentiary hearing. Upon review of the record, I propose to find that Ms. Rodriguez falls short on each required showing and recommend, after consideration of the parties' objections if any, that the Court deny Ms. Rodriguez' Motion.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On September 23, 201');">1');">1');">15, Ms. Rodriguez and co-defendant Joseph Vallejos were charged with distribution of methamphetamine in violation of 21');">1');">1');">1 U.S.C. § 841');">1');">1');">1 (201');">1');">1');">12), conspiracy in violation of 21');">1');">1');">1 U.S.C. § 846 (201');">1');">1');">12) and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime in violation of 1');">1');">1');">18 U.S.C. § 924 (201');">1');">1');">12). [CR Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1].

         On December 1');">1');">1');">17, 201');">1');">1');">15, Ms. Rodriguez was indicted for: seven counts of distribution of a controlled substance and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21');">1');">1');">1 U.S.C. §§ 841');">1');">1');">1(a)(1');">1');">1');">1) and (b)(1');">1');">1');">1)(C) and 1');">1');">1');">18 U.S.C. § 2 (201');">1');">1');">12); one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21');">1');">1');">1 U.S.C. § 846; and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 1');">1');">1');">18 U.S.C. § 924. [CR Doc. 40]. Attorney Mario Carreon was appointed to represent Ms. Rodriguez. [CR Doc. 5].

         On August 1');">1');">1');">12, 201');">1');">1');">16, represented by Mr. Carreon, Ms. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and aiding and abetting and one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. [CR Doc. 87, p. 2]. She was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine and to forfeit the proceeds of the crimes at issue. [CR Doc. 1');">1');">1');">109].

         Ms. Rodriguez filed the instant Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence on November 29, 201');">1');">1');">18, seeking to have her guilty plea and subsequent sentence of imprisonment vacated, claiming that she received ineffective assistance of counsel at various stages of her criminal proceedings. [CV Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1, pp. 1');">1');">1');">15-24].

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Standard of Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         28 U.S.C. § 2255 (201');">1');">1');">12) provides that prisoners in federal custody may challenge their sentences if: (1');">1');">1');">1) the sentence was imposed in violation of the United States Constitution or federal law; (2) the sentencing court had no jurisdiction to impose the sentence; (3) the sentence exceeded the maximum authorized sentence; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral review. § 2255(a). Relief is available under Section 2255 only if “the claimed error constituted a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” United States v. Addonizio, 1');">1');">1');">178');">442 U.S. 1');">1');">1');">178, 1');">1');">1');">185 (1');">1');">1');">1979) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court must presume “that the proceedings leading to the conviction were correct, ” and the burden is on the movant to demonstrate otherwise. Klein v. United States, 880 F.2d 250, 253 (1');">1');">1');">10th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1989).

         The Court must hold an evidentiary hearing unless the motion, files, and records conclusively show that the prisoner is not entitled to relief. United States v. Galloway, 56 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1239, 1');">1');">1');">1240 n.1');">1');">1');">1 (1');">1');">1');">10th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1995).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Ms. Rodriguez Has Not Demonstrated That She is Entitled to Relief Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         Ms. Rodriguez claims that she received ineffective assistance of counsel during the pretrial, plea negotiation, and sentencing stages of her criminal proceedings. [CV Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1, pp. 1');">1');">1');">17-23]. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees Ms. Rodriguez the right to the effective assistance of counsel. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 685-86 (1');">1');">1');">1984). To succeed on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, Ms. Rodriguez must show that (1');">1');">1');">1) ...


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