United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
Â§ 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of Petitioner
William Ramsey for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
as well as Ramsey's motion for a status report, Dkt. 67.
This ruling provides an update of the status of these
proceedings. Ramsey seeks relief from a criminal conviction
arguing that he did not receive effective assistance of
counsel as required by the Sixth Amendment. For the reasons
set forth below, Ramsey's § 2255 motion is
denied, and the action dismissed with
prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of
appealability should not issue.
The § 2255 Motion
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive
means by which a federal prisoner can challenge his
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). “Relief under
this statute is available only in extraordinary situations,
such as an error of constitutional or jurisdictional
magnitude or where a fundamental defect has occurred which
results in a complete miscarriage of justice.”
Blake v. United States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th
Cir. 2013) (citing Prewitt v. United States, 83 F.3d
812, 816 (7th Cir. 1996); Barnickel v. United
States, 113 F.3d 704, 705 (7th Cir. 1997)).
September 17, 2014, Ramsey was charged in a seven-count
Indictment in United States v. Ramsey,
1:14-cr-00187-TWP-MJD-1 (“Crim. Dkt.”) Dkt. 10.
Counts 1 through 6 charged Ramsey with knowingly receiving
child pornography on certain dates between July 15, 2013, and
May 16, 2014, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2).
Id. Count 7 charged him with knowingly possessing
child pornography on June 28, 2014, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2252(a)(4)(B). Id. Indiana Federal Community
Defender counsel Gwendolyn Beitz was appointed to represent
Ramsey and she entered her appearance on September 19, 2014,
Crim. Dkt. 18. On June 18, 2015, Ramsey filed a Petition to
Enter a Plea of Guilty. Crim. Dkt. 29. In the Petition,
Ramsey represented to the Court that he received a copy of
the Indictment and understood the charges brought against
him. Id. He stated that he understood his rights
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Id. Ramsey
stated that he offered his plea of guilty freely and
voluntary and of his own accord. Id.
August 7, 2015, a Plea Agreement was filed pursuant to
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). Crim. Dkt.
32. The Agreement stated that Ramsey would plead guilty to
Count 7, which charged him with knowingly possessing child
pornography on or about June 28, 2014. Id. The
parties agreed that the Court should sentence Ramsey to a
term of imprisonment of 120 months. Id. The
government agreed that if Ramsey fully complied with all the
terms of this plea agreement, and if the Court accepted the
Plea Agreement, then it would move to dismiss Counts 1
through 6 of the Indictment. Id.
exchange for the concessions made by the United States,
Ramsey agreed that in the event the Court accepted the Plea
Agreement and imposed a sentence of 120 months, Ramsey would
waive his right to appeal his conviction and sentence and any
collateral attack against his conviction and sentence.
Id. The waiver did not encompass claims that Ramsey
received ineffective assistance of counsel.
October 1, 2015, the Court held a change of plea and
sentencing hearing. Crim. Dkt. 38. Before the hearing, the
parties filed a stipulated factual basis signed by all the
parties, including Ramsey. Crim. Dkt. 36. The stipulated
factual basis provided that Ramsey possessed a laptop
containing several images of child pornography. Id.
During the plea hearing, the Court advised Ramsey of his
rights and the possible penalties and accepted the
parties' stipulated factual basis as an adequate basis
for the plea. Crim. Dkt. 38. Ramsey attested that he was
pleading guilty of his own free will and that no one had
threatened or coerced him into pleading guilty. Crim. Dkt.
63, pg. 7-8. Ramsey pleaded guilty to Count 7 of the
Indictment and affirmed the truth of the facts stated in the
factual basis. Crim. Dkt. 63, pg. 24. The Court accepted
Ramsey's guilty plea and adjudged him guilty of Count 7.
Crim. Dkt. 38.
the terms of the plea agreement, the Court sentenced Ramsey
to 120 months of imprisonment to be followed by a lifetime of
supervised release. Crim. Dkt. 41. Ramsey was also assessed
the mandatory assessment of $100 and a fine in the amount of
$5, 000.00. Id. Thereafter, in compliance with the
Plea Agreement, the United States filed a motion to dismiss
Counts 1 through 6. Crim. Dkt. 39. The Court granted the
motion and dismissed Counts 1 through 6. Crim. Dkt. 40.
Ramsey filed this motion for relief pursuant to § 2255
on August 5, 2016. The Court later appointed counsel to
represent Ramsey and counsel filed a brief. The United States
argues in his motion for relief that his counsel was
ineffective. He states that he was incarcerated on a prior
state court conviction until November 7, 2013, and he
therefore could not have owned a laptop containing child
pornography on July 15, 2013, as charged in Counts 1-3 of the
Indictment. He states that his counsel should have moved to
dismiss Counts 1-3 of the Indictment, because the dates
listed in the Indictment are inaccurate. Because counsel did
not move to dismiss these Counts, he felt compelled to plead
guilty. He also asserts that his attorney failed to
communicate with him regarding important dates and failed to
move to suppress evidence of a previous case. In his
supplement in support of his motion for relief, Ramsey
reiterates these arguments. The United States has responded
to the motion and the supplement and argues that he waived
his right to challenge his conviction and sentence and that
his counsel was not ineffective.
United States argues that Ramsey waived his § 2255
claims when he consented to the Plea Agreement. “A
defendant may validly waive both his right to a direct appeal
and his right to collateral review under § 2255 as part
of his 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 ...