Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Covarrubias v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 9, 2020

ABEL COVARRUBIAS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255 AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Abel Covarrubias' (“Covarrubias”) Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence (Filing No. 1). For the reasons explained in this Entry, Covarrubias's motion for relief must be denied and the action dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         A 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)).

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On April 21, 2015, a grand jury returned an Indictment against Covarrubias, charging him with one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States v. Covarrubias, No. 1:15-cr-00081-TWP-DKL (hereinafter “Crim. Dkt.”) (Crim. Dkt. 11.) A Superseding Indictment charged Covarrubias with Count 1: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846, and Count 2: possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. (Crim. Dkt. 59.)

         Covarrubias proceeded to trial on both counts. A jury found Covarrubias guilty of Count 1 and Count 2. (Crim. Dkt. 100.) As to Count 1, the jury specifically found that the conspiracy involved 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Id. Similarly, on Count 2, it found that Covarrubias possessed with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Id. Covarrubias was sentenced to concurrent terms of 225 months' imprisonment to be followed by five years' supervised release. (Crim. Dkt. 113.) On September 9, 2016, he filed his Notice of Appeal. (Crim. Dkt. 117.)

         On appeal, Covarrubias challenged the Court's denial of his motion to suppress, arguing that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the car in which the methamphetamine was found. See United States v. Covarrubias, 847 F.3d 556, 558 (7th Cir. 2017). He also contended that he did not knowingly waive his Miranda rights. Id. The Seventh Circuit rejected both arguments and affirmed the judgment of the district court. Id.

         The United States Supreme Court denied Covarrubias' petition for writ of certiorari on June 26, 2017. Covarrubias v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 2312 (2017). Thereafter, Covarrubias filed the instant motion for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Dkt. 1; Dkt. 2; Crim. Dkt. 154; Crim. Dkt. 155.) This motion is now fully briefed and ripe for resolution.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Covarrubias's § 2255 motion challenges his conviction, arguing that trial counsel was ineffective in several ways. After outlining the standard applicable to claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, the Court will address each of his arguments in turn.

         A petitioner claiming ineffective assistance of counsel bears the burden of showing (1) that trial counsel's performance fell below objective standards for reasonably effective representation and (2) that this deficiency prejudiced the defense. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688- 94 (1984); United States v. Jones, 635 F .3d 909, 915 (7th Cir. 2011). If a petitioner cannot establish one of the Strickland prongs, the court need not consider the other. Groves v. United States, 755 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2014).

         To satisfy the first prong of the Strickland test, a petitioner must direct the court to specific acts or omissions of his counsel. Wyatt v. United States, 574 F.3d 455, 458 (7th Cir. 2009). The court must then consider whether in light of all of the circumstances counsel's performance was outside the wide range of professionally competent assistance. Id. To satisfy the second prong, prejudice, a petitioner must establish that “there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694.

         A. Plea ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.