United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ERIC Q. RICHMOND, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING AMENDED MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO
28 U.S.C. § 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE United States District Court
matter is before the Court on the Amended Motion to Vacate,
Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255 (Dkt. 4), filed by Petitioner Eric Richmond
("Richmond"). For the reasons explained in this
Entry, the Amended Motion for Relief is denied and the action
dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a
certificate of appealability should not issue.
THE § 2255 MOTION
20, 2012, Richmond was charged in criminal docket No.
1:12-cr-96-TWP-MJD-01 ("Crim. Dkt.") with one count
of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of
heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The
matter was set for trial by jury on May 6, 2013, and Richmond
filed a Motion to Suppress on April 2, 2013. (Crim. Dkt. 37.)
Specifically, Richmond sought to suppress all evidence
obtained from a search of his vehicle during a routine
traffic stop and any statements that he made prior to being
read his Miranda rights. Because of the close
proximity to the trial date, the Court ordered expedited
briefing on the Motion to Suppress. Richmond challenged the
factual basis relied upon by police officers to support
probable cause for the search of his vehicle. In his motion
to suppress, Richmond did not contest the fact that he
committed one or more traffic violations prior to being
stopped by a police officer, rather, he argued the evidence
seized from his vehicle should be suppressed because it was
obtained during a warrantless search and there was no
probable cause for the search, thus violating the Fourth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. In particular,
Richmond denied that there was an odor of marijuana in his
vehicle at the time of the stop, that he possessed any
marijuana at the time of the stop, that he or anyone else had
smoked marijuana in his car the day of the stop, or that he
admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the stop. However, the
videotaped evidence of the stop showed otherwise.
the denial of his Motion to Suppress on April 25, 2013 (Crim.
Dkt. 47), Richmond filed a Petition to Enter a Plea of Guilty
that same date, without the benefit of a plea agreement. A
hearing on the Petition to change his plea to guilty was
conducted on August 14, 2013. Richmond was placed under oath
and examined concerning his Petition to Enter a Plea of
Guilty. The Court determined that Richmond was competent to
enter a plea of guilty and that his plea was made knowingly
and voluntarily. At the conclusion of the hearing, the plea
of guilty was accepted and Richmond was adjudged guilty.
Court then proceeded to impose sentence. During the
sentencing hearing, Richmond's counsel argued
successfully that the Court should not apply a two level
increase for the obstruction of justice adjustment, as argued
by the Government and recommended by the probation officer.
The Court, however, did not apply the two level decrease for
acceptance of responsibility under U.S.S.G § 3El.l(a),
finding that Richmond had falsely denied or frivolously
contested relevant conduct that the court determined to be
true, inconsistent with acceptance of responsibility.
See Application note 1(A). The Court sentenced
Richmond within the advisory guideline range to 125 months,
which was formally entered on the clerk's docket on
August 20, 2013.
did not appeal his conviction or his sentence; however, on
April 21, 2016, Richmond's sentence was reduced to 120
months pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Richmond now
seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
§ 2255 motion is the presumptive means by which a
federal prisoner can challenge his conviction or sentence.
See Davis v. United States, 417'U.S. 333, 3 43
(1974). The parameters of relief pursuant to § 2255 were
reviewed in Young v. United States, 124 F.3d 794,
796 (7th Cir. 1997):
Section 2255 is not a way to advance arguments that could
have been presented earlier-especially not when the arguments
rest entirely on a statute. See Reed v. Farley, 512
U.S. 339, 114 S.Ct. 2291, 129 L.Ed.2d 277 (1994). Although
sec. 2255 para. 1 permits a collateral attack on the ground
that "the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, " only a
small portion of statutory claims demonstrate that the
sentence or conviction is itself a violation of law. The
error must be so fundamental that a "complete
miscarriage of justice" has occurred. Reed, 512
U.S. at 348, quoting from Hill v. United States, 368
U.S. 424, 428, 82 S.Ct. 468, 7 L.Ed.2d 417 (1962). Other
"non-constitutional errors which could have been raised
on appeal but were not, are barred on collateral
review-regardless of cause and prejudice."
Bontkowski v. United States, 850 F.2d 306, 313 (7th
relief pursuant to § 2255 is limited to an error of law
that is jurisdictional, constitutional, or constitutes a
fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete
miscarriage of justice. Borre v. United States, 940
F.2d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1991).
order for a plea to be valid, it must be made voluntarily,
knowingly, and intelligently. United States v. Hays,
397 F.3d 564, 567 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing United States
v. Gilliam, 255 F.3d 428, 432-33 (7th Cir. 2001)). A
plea is voluntary when it is not induced by threats or
misrepresentations, and the defendant is made aware of the
direct consequences of the plea. United States
v. Jordan, 870 F.2d 1310, 1317 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing
Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 755 (1970)).