United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
reasons explained in this Entry, Brant Chaszar’s motion
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)).
7, 2015, a grand jury returned a three-count indictment
against Mr. Chaszar. United States v. Chaszar, No.
1:15-cr-00121-TWP-DML-1 (hereinafter, “Crim.
Dkt.”), dkt. 12. Mr. Chaszar was charged with one count
of possession with intent to distribute heroin in violation
of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) (Count
1); one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to
a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1) (Count 2); and one count of unlawful possession of
a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g)(1) (Count 3). On July 8, 2015, an information
was filed under 21 U.S.C. § 851(a)(1) alleging that Mr.
Chaszar had a prior felony conviction under Indiana state law
for dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug. Crim. Dkt. 20.
April 4, 2017, Mr. Chaszar filed a petition to enter plea of
guilty and plea agreement (“plea agreement”).
Crim. Dkt. 35. In the plea agreement, Mr. Chaszar agreed to
plead guilty to Count 1: carrying a firearm during and in
relation to a drug trafficking crime, and, Count 2: unlawful
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation, in
exchange for the dismissal of Count 3. Id.
¶¶ 1, 19.
plea agreement, Mr. Chaszar recognized that the maximum
sentence for Count 1 was thirty years’ imprisonment and
the potential sentence for Count 2 was a consecutive sentence
of not less than five years’ imprisonment and not more
than life imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 2. He
acknowledged and agreed that the Court would use its
discretion to determine a sentence within the statutory range
and that he could not withdraw his guilty plea if the Court
imposed a sentence higher or lower than either party’s
recommendation or outside the range recommended by the
Sentencing Guidelines. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 5.
Chaszar stipulated to facts establishing that he possessed
heroin and heroin mixed with fentanyl with the intent to
sell. He also stipulated to facts showing he possessed
marijuana, a loaded .40 caliber Ruger semiautomatic handgun,
and ammunition. As part of the plea agreement, he admitted
that he always carried a handgun when he was selling drugs,
that he was convicted in August 2008 of dealing in cocaine or
a narcotic drug in Marion County, and that he was convicted
in February 2003 of dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug in
Hamilton County. Id. at ¶ 16.
respect to the Sentencing Guidelines computation, Mr. Chaszar
agreed that his prior convictions were felonies and that he
was a career offender under the relevant portions of the
Sentencing Guidelines. He acknowledged that his unadjusted
base offense level for Count 1 was 34. Id. at ¶
Mr. Chaszar acknowledged that his attorney advised him as to
the accusations against him and the potential defenses
available to him, that no person “made any promise or
suggestion of any kind” that he would receive a lighter
sentence if he pled guilty, and that he was “fully
satisfied with [his] attorney’s representation during
all phases” of the case. He further stated that he was
pleading guilty because he was guilty of the crimes.
Id. at ¶ 26.
Court conducted a change of plea and sentencing hearing on
July 13, 2017. Crim. Dkt. 52. At the hearing, Mr. Chaszar
agreed he had sufficient time to discuss the case against him
with his attorney, including potential defenses, and that he
was satisfied with counsel’s representations. Dkt. 13-1
at 6-7. He affirmed that he understood the penalties possible
for both Count 1 and Count 2 and the Court’s discretion
in determining a sentence. Id. at 5, 10-13.
the Court read the factual basis contained in the plea
agreement, Mr. Chaszar reaffirmed its truth and declined the
opportunity to change it. Id. at 17-20. The Court
accepted Mr. Chaszar’s guilty plea and found it to be
knowing and voluntary. Id. at 25-26.