United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is Defendant Joel Camarillo's Motion to Correct
his Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Rec. Doc.
371). Having reviewed Mr. Camarillo's Motion, the
Government's response (R. Doc. 376) and the applicable
law, the Court now issues this Order & Reasons.
March 27, 2008, Joel Camarillo (“Camarillo”)
pleaded guilty to Counts One and Six of an eighteen-count
superseding indictment. (R. Doc. 138). Count One charged
Camarillo with conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of a
substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine
in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)
all in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. (R. Doc. 33 at 2).
Count Six charged Camarillo with knowingly possessing a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). Id. at
entered into a plea agreement waiving “the right to
appeal [his] conviction and/or his sentence, including but
not limited to any appeal right conferred by Title 28, United
States Code, Sections 1291, and by Title 18, U.S.C. §
3742.” (R. Doc. 140 at 2). Camarillo further
“waive[d] his right to contest his conviction and/or
his sentence in any collateral proceeding, including
proceedings brought under Title 28, United States Code,
Section 2241 and Title 28, United States Code, Section
2255….” Id. However, Camarillo reserved
“the right to bring a direct appeal of any sentence
imposed in excess of the statutory maximum.”
Id. at 3. On August 20, 2008, The Honorable Helen G.
Berrigan sentenced Camarillo to 151 months as to Count One
and one month as to Count Six, to be served consecutively.
(R. Doc. 225). Judge Berrigan further sentenced Camarillo to
five years supervised release for each of Counts One and Six,
to be served concurrently. Id.
3, 2015, Judge Berrigan reduced Camarillo's sentence
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) based on a guideline
sentencing range that had subsequently been lowered by
Amendment 782 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and made
retroactive by the United States Sentencing Commission
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(u). (R. Doc. 324).
Camarillo's sentence for Count One was reduced to 121
months. Id. Camarillo's case was transferred to
this Court on February 29, 2016, for all further proceedings.
(R. Doc. 336).
October 3, 2016, the Court received Camarillo's Motion to
Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (R. Doc. 371). In his
motion, Camarillo seeks relief based on Amendment 794 to
§ 3B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines,
which provides that a defendant who, for example, “does
not have a proprietary interest in the criminal activity and
who is simply being paid to perform certain tasks should be
considered for an adjustment under this guideline.”
Camarillo avers he merits relief because his counsel was
ineffective and because Amendment 794 was not available at
the time of his sentencing. (R. Doc. 371 at 4). Camarillo
asks the Court to vacate his sentence and remand for
resentencing to include a four-level reduction for a
mitigating role under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2. Id. at
12. He avers his new sentencing should be 78 months, making
him entitled to immediate release. (R. Doc. 371-1 at 4).
Camarillo also asks for immediate deportation to Mexico upon
Government opposed the Motion, arguing that Camarillo waived
his right to relief under § 2255 except in limited
circumstances not relevant here, that Amendment 794 is not
retroactive, and that Camarillo offers no evidence to support
his contention that his role in the crime was minor. (R. Doc.
376). The Government further contends that an evidentiary
hearing is unnecessary because the case record shoes
Camarillo is not entitled to relief. Id. at 8.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Relief under § 2255
plea agreement, Camarillo expressly waived his right to
collateral relief under § 2255 except for “the
right to bring a direct appeal of any sentence imposed in
excess of the statutory maximum.” Id. at 3.
The instant motion is neither a direct appeal nor an appeal
of a sentence imposed in excess of the statutory maximum.
However, this Court recognizes that Camarillo is proceeding
pro se and should accordingly “liberally construe
pleadings and briefs submitted by pro se litigants, reading
such submissions to raise the strongest arguments they
suggest.” Harris v. Miller, 818 F.3d 49, 56
(2d Cir. 2016); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972). This Court will therefore construe
Camarillo's motion as a Motion for Modification of
Sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), which
permits the Court to modify a term of imprisonment of a
Defendant who was sentenced based on a “sentencing
range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing
Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(o).” See
United States v. Perez, 2016 WL 4775536, at *2 (S.D.N.Y.
Sept. 14, 2016) (construing § 2255 motion seeking
retroactive application of Amendment 794 as a §
3582(c)(2) motion); Harris v. United States, No.
3:08-CV-0060-O, 2008 WL 4821321, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 5,
seeks relief under Amendment 794 to the United States
Sentencing Guidelines, which amends the commentary section of
U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2 to provide courts with additional
guidance and to clarify a circuit split, finding that the
“mitigating role is applied inconsistently and more
sparingly than the Commission intended.” U.S.S.G.
Amendment 794. The Amendment clarified language in Note 3(A)
of § 3B1.2 and also included a “non-exhaustive
list of ...