United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
THRESA A. TALLEY, Petitioner,
ENTRY DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court
Thresa Talley's motion for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 must be denied and the action dismissed with
prejudice for the reasons set forth below. In addition, the
Court finds that a certificate of appealability should not
The § 2255 Motion
April 7, 2015, Ms. Talley was charged in an eleven-count
Indictment in No. 2:15-cr-00007-JMS-CMM-4. Ms. Talley signed
a Petition to Enter a Plea of Guilty and Plea Agreement
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(A)
and (B) on January 11, 2016. See Filing No. 350. In
the Plea Agreement, Ms. Talley agreed to plead guilty of
conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. The Plea
Agreement stated that Count 1 is punishable with a sentence
of no less than 10 years' imprisonment. However, the
parties did not agree upon a sentence and each reserved the
right to present evidence and arguments as to the appropriate
Court held a change of plea and sentencing hearing on June
20, 2016, during which the Court advised Ms. Talley of her
rights, concluded that there was a factual basis for the
guilty plea, accepted the Plea Agreement, and adjudged Ms.
Talley guilty of Count One. The Court sentenced Ms. Talley to
87 months' imprisonment, followed by three years of
September 28, 2016, Ms. Talley filed the instant motion for
post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In
her motion, she requests a sentence reduction and argues that
her counsel provided ineffective assistance in three
respects. The United States responded to Ms. Talley's
motion. Ms. Talley, however, did not reply, and the time do
to so has passed.
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive
means by which a federal prisoner can challenge her
conviction or sentence. See Davis v. United States,
417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974). In her § 2255 motion, Ms.
Talley raises two claims. The Court will address each in
Talley requests a reduction in sentence, arguing that her
"sentencing term of 120 months is far beyond the scope
of reasonable[ness], fairness, [and] justice." Filing
No. 1 at 2. Notably, she makes this argument even though the
Court sentenced her to 87 months' imprisonment, not 120
months' imprisonment as she suggests.
United States maintains that any request for sentencing
reduction is barred by Ms. Talley's waiver of such claim
in the Plea Agreement. Specifically, Ms. Talley agreed in the
Plea Agreement to "not contest, or seek to modify, [her]
conviction or sentence or the manner in which either was
determined in any proceeding, including but not limited to,
an action brought under 18 U.S.C. §3582 or 28 U.S.C.
§2255." Filing No. 350 at 11.
defendant may validly waive both [the] right to a direct
appeal and [the] right to collateral review under § 2255
as part of h[er] plea agreement." Keller v. United
States, 657 F.3d 675, 681 (7th Cir. 2011). Such waivers
are upheld and enforced with limited exceptions in cases in
which (1) "the plea agreement was involuntary, "
(2) "the district court relied on a constitutionally
impermissible factor (such as race), " (3) "the
sentence exceeded the statutory maximum, " or (4) the
defendant claims ineffective assistance of counsel in
relation to the negotiation of the plea agreement.
Id. (internal quotations omitted); see United
States v. Smith, 759 F.3d 702, 706 (7th Cir. 2014). None
of these exceptions apply, nor does Ms. Talley even argue
that they do. Accordingly, the United States is correct that
Ms. Talley's request for a sentence reduction is barred
by the collateral attack waiver in her Plea