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United States v. Gines

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

February 6, 2017

PAULA BRADFORD GINES Civil Action No. 14-0142




         Before the Court is Petitioner Paula Bradford Gines' (“Gines”) Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Record Document 118). Gines seeks to have her sentence corrected on the grounds that the Government breached its obligations under her plea agreement and ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons discussed herein, Gines' Motion is DENIED.


         On May 27, 2011, a federal grand jury filed charges against Gines and Mario Hublin (“Hublin”) in a six-count indictment, alleging that Gines and Hublin had engaged in a conspiracy to obtain monies, funds, and property to which they were not entitled. See Record Doucment 1. The indictment alleged that Gines and Hublin had defrauded Time-It-Lube in Shreveport, Louisiana, by stealing credit card convenience checks and other materials from Time-It-Lube's mailbox and using the information contained therein to defraud Time-It-Lube out of several thousand dollars. See id.

         After her arrest and a period of detention, she was released on a $25, 000 unsecured bond. See Record Document 35. However, she violated the terms of her release pending trial, and a warrant for her arrest was issued on January 24, 2012. See Record Documents 60-62. She was finally re-arrested on October 2, 2012. See Record Document 75. On October 31, 2012, Gines pleaded guilty to Count Six of the indictment, Unauthorized Use of Counterfeit Securities. See Record Document 86. On March 8, 2012, the Court sentenced her to 24 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release. See Record Document 104. On January 29, 2014, Gines filed the instant § 2255 Motion. See Record Document 118.


         I. Legal Standards

         A. Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         The federal habeas corpus remedy is contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides that a prisoner serving a federal sentence may make a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence within a year after his conviction has become final. Review under § 2255 is limited to four grounds: (1) the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose the sentence; (3) the sentence exceeds the statutory maximum sentence; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255. However, after conviction and exhaustion of a defendant's right to appeal, the Court is “entitled to presume that the defendant stands fairly and finally convicted.” United States v. Shaid, 937 F.2d 228, 231-32 (5th Cir. 1991), quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 164 (1982). According to the Supreme Court, “our trial and appellate procedures are not so unreliable that we may not afford their completed operation any binding effect beyond the next in a series of endless postconviction collateral attacks . . . to the contrary, a final judgment commands respect.” Frady, 456 U.S. at 164-65.

         Consequently, issues that can be presented in a motion filed under 28 U.S.C.b § 2255 are limited. A defendant can challenge a final conviction only on issues of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude. Shaid, 937 F.2d at 232. As the Fifth Circuit has stated:

Relief under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255 is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice. Nonconstitutional claims that could have been raised on direct appeal, but were not, may not be asserted in a collateral proceeding.

United States v. Vaughn, 955 F.2d 367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted).

         Even if a petitioner wishes to assert issues that are constitutional or jurisdictional in nature, he may be procedurally barred from raising them. In order to raise an issue for the first time on collateral review, a petitioner must show both “cause” for his procedural default and “actual prejudice” resulting from the error. Frady, 456 U.S. at 168; Shaid, 937 F.2d at 232. To establish “cause, ” defendant must show that some external impediment prevented him from raising the claim on direct appeal. See United States v. Flores, 981 F.2d 231, 235 (5th Cir. 1993) (applying the same “cause” standard to a prisoner's second § 2255 motion). In order to meet the “actual prejudice” test, he must ...

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