United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is petitioner Frankie Hookfin's
(“Hookfin”) petition to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Hookfin's petition is a second or successive petition
that must be certified by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals before it may be considered by this Court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). This Court has not
been granted such authorization and, therefore, it lacks
jurisdiction to consider Hookfin's petition at this time.
September 22, 2015, Hookfin pled guilty to one count of
conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to
distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 280 grams or
more of cocaine base and one count of knowingly using and
carrying a firearm during and in relation to the commission
of a drug trafficking crime that resulted in the death of an
individual. On April 21, 2016, the Court sentenced
Hookfin to a term of imprisonment of 420
months. Hookfin timely appealed his sentence and
conviction. However, Hookfin's appeal was
dismissed, pursuant to his own motion, on August 25,
August 12, 2018, Hookfin filed his first motion to vacate his
sentence pursuant to § 2255. On October 29, 2018, this
Court dismissed Hookfin's first § 2255 motion with
prejudice because the motion was untimely. Hookfin filed the
present motion on July 24, 2019.
28, United States Code, Section 2255 allows a prisoner in
federal custody to bring a motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence, in the court that imposed the sentence,
when that prisoner claims a
right to be released upon a ground that the sentence was
imposed in violation of the constitution or laws of the
United States, or that the court was without the jurisdiction
to impose such a sentence, or that the sentence was in excess
of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). However, a district court should
not “entertain an application for a writ of habeas
corpus to inquire into the detention of a person . . . if it
appears that the legality of such detention has been
determined by a judge or court of the United States on a
prior application for a writ of habeas corpus, except as
provided in section 2255.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(a).
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
“requires a prisoner to obtain authorization from a
federal court of appeals in his circuit before he may file a
‘second or successive' habeas application in
federal district court.” United States v.
Jones, 796 F.3d 483, 484-85 (5th Cir. 2015) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A)). “A petitioner's
failure to seek authorization from an appellate court before
filing a second or successive habeas petition ‘acts as
a jurisdictional bar.'” Williams v.
Thaler, 602 F.3d 291, 301 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting
United States v. Key, 205 F.3d 773, 774 (5th Cir.
second-in-time petition does not necessarily equate to one
which is successive within the meaning of § 2255.”
United States v. Fulton, 780 F.3d 683, 685 (5th Cir.
2015) (citing In re Cain, 137 F.3d 234, 235 (5th
Cir. 1998)). “Instead, ‘a later petition is
successive when it: 1) raises a claim challenging the
petitioner's conviction or sentence that was or could
have been raised in an earlier petition; or 2) otherwise
constitutes an abuse of the writ.'” Id.
(quoting Cain, 137 F.3d at 235).
first petition pursuant to § 2255, Hookfin asserted five
grounds for relief. In the first ground for relief, Hookfin
claimed ineffective assistance of counsel based on his
counsel's alleged conflict of interest. Second, Hookfin
alleged actual innocence, more specifically asserting that
count fourteen in the indictment wrongly charged him with
possession of heroin when that charge actually stemmed from a
state charge for possession of cocaine. In his third
ground for relief, Hookfin alleged ineffective assistance of
counsel for lack of preparation, specifically alleging that
his attorney failed to be present and review the presentence
investigation report, “failed to turn over
discovery” to the government, and wrongly informed the
Court that Hookfin rejected a plea offer when, he alleges, no
plea offer had been communicated to him by his
counsel. In ground four of his motion, Hookfin
alleged involuntary, unintelligent, and unknowing plea
bargaining and sentencing, specifically asserting that the
government unlawfully secured his indictment by
“pressuring perjured testimony” before the grand
jury and that the government tried to coerce him to plead
guilty by telling him that his state sentence would run
consecutive to his federal sentence if he did not plead
guilty. Hookfin also asserts that he advised the
Court that he was on Neurontin when he pled guilty, but he
“really didn't know so much pressure was on
[him].” As a fifth ground, Hookfin asserted that
his criminal case was built on the perjured testimony of
Isaac Smith and witnesses “coached by the
government.” As stated previously, the Court did not
reach the merits of Hookfin's claims because the Court
dismissed his first petition with prejudice for being
Hookfin's second petition pursuant to § 2255,
currently before the Court, he alleges that (1) the Court
violated his Fifth Amendment right to Due Process by
misapplying the “relevant conduct” provisions of
the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, as a result of his
counsel's ineffectiveness in failing to raise the issue
before he pled guilty, and (2) the prosecution allowed its
chief witness, ...