United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JUSTIN M. ROBERTS, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
reasons explained in this Entry, the motion Justin Roberts
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 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)).
February 3, 2016, Mr. Roberts was charged in an indictment
with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled
substances in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and three
counts of distribution of a controlled substance in violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States v.
Roberts, 1:16-cr-00025-SEB-MJD-8 (“Crim.
Dkt.”) Dkt. 1. A grand jury returned a superseding
indictment on May 4, 2016, but the charges against Mr.
Roberts remained the same. Crim. Dkt. 172.
the criminal proceeding, Mr. Roberts was initially
represented by attorney Kathleen Sweeney. Crim. Dkt. 59. Ms.
Sweeney was the attorney who negotiated and signed the plea
agreement. See Crim. Dkt. 296, Crim. Dkt. 475 at 45.
However, in August 2016, the Court granted Ms. Sweeney's
motion to withdraw her appearance, Crim. Dkt. 343, Crim. Dkt.
349, and appointed attorney Kathryn DiNardo to represent Mr.
Roberts, Crim. Dkt. 358.
31, 2016, a petition to enter a plea of guilty and a plea
agreement was filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). Crim. Dkt. 296. In the plea agreement,
Mr. Roberts agreed to plead guilty to two counts of
distribution of a controlled substance, and the government
agreed to dismiss the conspiracy count and the other
distribution count. Id. at ¶ 1; see
also Crim. Dkt. 475 at p. 8. The plea agreement also
provided as follows:
Because the defendant has sustained a prior conviction for a
felony drug offense and the government has filed an
information pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851(a)(1), the
offense is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years'
imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1, 000, 000, and not
less than 3 years' supervised release following any term
Crim. Dkt. 296 at ¶ 2. By executing the plea agreement
under Rule 11(c)(1)(C), Mr. Roberts agreed that the Court
would sentence him to a term of imprisonment between 144 and
168 months with the government recommending a sentence of 156
months' imprisonment. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 9.
the plea agreement stated that the government had filed an
information pursuant to § 851, see Crim. Dkt.
296 at ¶ 2, the government did not file the information
until October 13, 2016, see Crim. Dkt. 380. The
JUSTIN M. ROBERTS, the defendant herein, did commit the
offense alleged in the Superseding Indictment returned herein
on May 4, 2016, under cause number 1:16-cr-0025-SEB-MJD-08
after one prior conviction for a felony offense punishable
under state or federal law that prohibits or restricts
conduct relating to controlled substances became final,
1. On or about July 15, 2011, JUSTIN M. ROBERTS was convicted
in the Scott County (Indiana) Circuit Court of Possession of
Methamphetamine, at docket number 72D01-0906-FB-17. Judgment
was entered on the conviction on or about July 15, ...