United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DISCUSSING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
reasons explained in this Entry, the motion of Petitioner
Aaron Garrett 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 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)).
August 12, 2015, Garrett was charged in a nine-count
multi-defendant Indictment. Garrett was charged with one
count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and
distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 (Count 1); one count of
possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count 2); two counts of
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Counts
3 and 5); and one count of possession with intent to
distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count 4).
September 22, 2016, Garrett filed a petition to enter a plea
of guilty and plea agreement pursuant to Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). United States v.
Garrett, 1:15-cr-153-SEB-TAB-2, (hereinafter
“Crim. Dkt.”), Crim. Dkt. 153. The parties agreed
that Garrett would plead guilty to Counts 1 and 3 of the
Indictment and the government would move to dismiss the
remaining counts. Id. at ¶ 1. The parties
agreed to a term of imprisonment between 180 and 204 months.
Id. at ¶ 7.
exchange for the concessions made by the government, Garrett
waived his right to appeal the conviction and sentence
imposed on any ground, providing the Court imposed a sentence
between 180 and 204 months' imprisonment. Id. at
¶ 18. Garrett also waived his right to contest, or seek
to modify, his conviction or sentence or the manner in which
either was determined in any proceeding, including an action
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, except for claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel. Id. at ¶ 19.
presentence report (“PSR”) calculated the
sentencing guidelines range for Count 1 as 120 to 150 months.
PSR, Crim. Dkt. 185 at ¶ 83. The mandatory sentence for
Count 3 is 60 months consecutive. PSR at ¶ 84. Neither
party filed any objections to the PSR.
plea agreement, the parties stipulated to the facts of the
case. Crim. Dkt. 153 at ¶¶ 12-14. These facts
reflected that the crimes occurred in Indianapolis, Indiana.
This Court accepted Garrett's guilty plea and sentenced
him to 16 years' imprisonment (192 months). Garrett made
no objections during the plea and sentencing hearing.
judgment and commitment order was filed on March 3, 2017.
Abiding by the terms of the plea agreement, Garrett did not
file an appeal.
March 8, 2018, Garrett filed a motion to vacate under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. Dkt. 1-2. Garrett claims that this Court
did not have jurisdiction to issue the Indictment in his
case, he was denied the opportunity to challenge the
competency of the Grand Jury and that his guidelines
calculation included an improper enhancement for possessing a
firearm on May 7, 2015. Id. The United States
responded and no reply was filed.
primary argument is that the judgment in his criminal case,
1:15-cr-153-SEB-TAB-2 should be vacated because this Court
lacked territorial jurisdiction over his criminal
trial. He argues that subject matter jurisdiction
is insufficient, and that the Indictment must also allege
that the geographical location at issue is within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. For the
reasons explained below, the Court had ...