United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court
reasons explained in this Entry, the motion of Edward
McDonald for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must be
denied and the action dismissed with
prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that
a certificate of appealability should not
The § 2255 motion
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). A court may grant relief from a
federal conviction or sentence pursuant to § 2255
“upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States,
or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such
sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral
attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). The scope of relief
available under § 2255 is narrow, 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) (internal
McDonald filed this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to
challenge his sentence in No. 1:14-cr-81-JMS-DML-1. In his
reply brief, McDonald states that he is only interested in
vacating his plea agreement and sentence if it will entitle
him to a shorter term of imprisonment. Otherwise, he asks
this Court to do nothing.
April 23, 2014, petitioner Edward McDonald was charged in a
multi-defendant Indictment in the Southern District of
Indiana. Count 1 charged McDonald and a co-defendant with
armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§
2113(a) and (d). Count 2 charged McDonald with brandishing a
firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) and
924(c)(1)(C)(i). McDonald was not charged in Count 3.
April 30, 2014, an initial hearing on the Indictment was
scheduled before a United States Magistrate Judge in the
Southern District of Indiana. Crim. Docket No. 33. The Court
explained McDonald's rights, charges and penalties.
McDonald was ordered detained at a hearing held on April 4,
February 4, 2015, McDonald filed a Petition to Enter a Plea
of Guilty. Crim. Docket No. 46. In the Petition, McDonald
represented to the Court that he had received a copy of the
Indictment, read and discussed it with his attorney,
understood the charges brought against him, and believed that
his attorney was fully informed as to the facts surrounding
the Indictment. He stated that his attorney had advised him
of the punishment, and that he believed that his attorney had
done all that anyone could do to counsel and assist him.
McDonald made no claim of innocence but declared that his
plea of guilty was offered freely and voluntarily and of his
own accord. Petition, ¶¶ 4, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 14.
March 16, 2015, a plea agreement was filed pursuant to
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). Crim. Docket
No. 54. McDonald agreed to plead guilty to Count 1 of the
Indictment, and the government would move to dismiss Count 2
at sentencing. The parties agreed to a sentence of
imprisonment of 288 months.
27, 2015, the Court held a change of plea and sentencing
hearing. Crim. Docket No. 69. The Court found that McDonald
was fully competent to enter a plea of guilty and that
McDonald made his plea knowingly and voluntarily.
determining that the stipulated factual basis for the plea
was supported by an independent basis in fact containing each
essential element of the offense, the Court accepted
McDonald's plea of guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment
and adjudged him guilty. The Court sentenced McDonald to 288
months of imprisonment to be followed by one year of
supervised release. McDonald was also assessed the mandatory
special assessment of $100 and ordered to pay restitution in
the amount of $16, 193.00.
agreed, the government orally moved to dismiss Count 2 and
the Court granted the motion. The Court entered a judgment of
conviction on May 29, 2015. Crim. Docket No. 72.
March 10, 2016, McDonald filed a motion for post-conviction
relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. On March 25, 2016,
the Court directed the United States to respond to
McDonald's 28 ...