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United States v. Jauregui

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 8, 2018


         SECTION: "A"(2)


          Judge Jay C. Zainey United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is defendant Jaime Jauregui's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (Rec. Doc. #229). The government filed an opposition to this motion (Rec. Doc. #237). The Court has carefully reviewed all matters pertinent to the motion in this criminal case. Based upon this review, the Court's clear recollection and understanding of the proceedings, and application of governing legal authorities, defendant is entitled to no relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and the Motion is DENIED.

         1. Background

         A federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Louisiana returned an indictment and superseding indictment charging petitioner Jaime Jauregui with the following: Count 1 - Conspiracy to Violate the Gun Control Act & the National Firearms Act in violation of 18 U.S.C. §371; Count 2 - Possession of unregistered firearms in violation of 26 U.S.C. §5841(a)(1), 586(d) and 5871. On October 29, 2014, Jaime Jauregui was found guilty by a jury on counts one and two and sentenced on March 18, 2015 to 60 months imprisonment as to Count 1 and 120 months imprisonment to Count 2, to run concurrently. (Rec. Doc. #200). On March 17, 2015, Jauregui filed a notice of appeal. On February 16, 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment. (Rec. Doc. #221). On May 31, 2016, the United States Supreme Court denied Jaime Jauregui's writ of certiorari (Rec. Doc. #222). Jauregui certified that he mailed the instant motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 on May 26, 2017. He raises the allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal, for not being allowed to exercise his constitutional right to testify at trial, as well as issues regarding the jury venire and the Government's exclusion of prospective jurors based on race.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Motions to Vacate Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         Section 2255 “provides the federal prisoner with a post-conviction remedy to test the legality of his detention by filing a motion to vacate judgment and sentence in his trial court.” U.S. v. Grammas, 376 F.3d 433, 436 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Kuhn v. U.S., 432 F.2d 82, 83 (5th Cir. 1970)). The statute establishes that a prisoner in custody under a sentence of a federal court “may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.” Id. (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255). Where there has been a “denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral attack, the court shall vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct the sentence as may appear appropriate.” Id.

         Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is reserved for violations of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries in federal criminal cases that could not have been raised on direct appeal and would result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. U.S. v. Petrus, 44 F.3d 1004 (5th Cir. 1994) (citing U.S. v. Vaughn, 955 F.2d 367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992)).

         A district court may deny a § 2255 motion without conducting any type of evidentiary hearing if “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” U.S. v. Arguellas, 78 Fed.Appx. 984, 986 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255; U.S. v. Bartholomew, 974 F.2d 39, 41 (5th Cir. 1992)). In those cases, however, where the record does not conclusively negate a prisoner's entitlement to relief, contested fact issues may not be decided on affidavits alone. Id. (citing Owens v. U.S., 551 F.2d 1053, 1054 (5th Cir. 1977)). No hearing is necessary if the issues raised have been previously decided on direct appeal, contain no constitutional violation, or lack support in the record. U.S. v. McCollom, 664 F.2d 56, 59 (5th Cir. 1981) (citing Buckelew v. U.S., 575 F.2d 515 (5th Cir. 1978)).

         B. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         An accused is entitled, as a matter of constitutional law, to assistance of counsel on a direct appeal. U.S. v. Guerra, 94 F.3d 989, 994 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing Douglas v. Cal., 372 U.S. 353 (1963)). The representation must be effective. Id. (citing Evitts v. Lucey, 469 U.S. 387 (1985); Lombard v. Lynaugh, 868 F.2d 1475, 1481 (5th Cir. 1989)).

         To prevail on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the petitioner must satisfy the two-part test enunciated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). First, the petitioner must establish that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Grammas, 376 F.3d at 436 (citing Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687). That standard requires that counsel “research relevant facts and law, or make an informed decision that certain avenues will not be fruitful.” Id. (quoting U.S. v. Conley, 349 F.3d 837, 841 (5th Cir. 2003)).

         The second showing that the petitioner must make is that he was prejudiced by counsel's substandard performance. Grammas, 376 F.3d at 436. “To prove prejudice, the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Id. (quoting Conley, 349 F.3d at 841-42). Any amount of jail time has Sixth Amendment implications that can satisfy Strickland's prejudice prong. Grammas, 376 F.3d at 436 (quoting Conley, 349 F.3d at 842). If the defendant makes an insufficient showing on either one of the two ...

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