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Thornton v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

April 10, 2015

JASPER THORNTON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

WALLACE CAPEL, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the court on a motion by Jasper Thornton ("Thornton") to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons indicated below, the court concludes that the motion should be denied without an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings in the United States District Courts.

I. INTRODUCTION

On June 9, 2010, Thornton pled guilty under a plea agreement to possession of a firearm as a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).[1] On March 25, 2011, the district court sentenced Thornton to 63 months in prison. Thornton filed an appeal, but then moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal. On August 2, 2011, the Eleventh Circuit dismissed his appeal, noting that the dismissal was pursuant to his motion for voluntary dismissal.

On August 22, 2011, Thornton filed in this court a pro se motion seeking to have his federal and state sentences run concurrently. This court denied the motion on September 30, 2011.

On November 14, 2011, this court granted a motion filed by the Government to reduce Thornton's sentence under Fed. R. Crim. P. 35(b), reducing his sentence to 46 months in prison.[2]

On January 16, 2013, Thornton filed a pro se motion asking this court to order the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") to credit time that he served in jail on a state sentence against his federal sentence. That motion was denied on February 7, 2013.

On May 17, 2013, Thornton filed the instant § 2255 motion arguing that he is entitled to a 17-month credit against his federal sentence for time that he served in state custody. Doc. No. 1. According to Thornton, he is entitled to the credit because his federal conviction arose from conduct underlying his state incarceration and because the conduct was deemed relevant conduct by this court at his sentencing. Id. at 2-4.

The Government answers that Thornton's § 2255 motion was filed after expiration of the one-year limitation period and is therefore time-barred, that Thornton waived his right to seek collateral review of his sentence under the terms of his plea agreement, that Thornton's substantive argument is without merit, and that the relief requested by Thornton is not available from this court through a § 2255 motion and is instead a matter within the purview of the BOP. See Doc. No. 6.

II. DISCUSSION

A. General Standard of Review

Because collateral review is not a substitute for direct appeal, the grounds for collateral attack on final judgments under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are limited. A prisoner is entitled to relief under § 2255 if the court imposed a sentence that (1) violated the Constitution or laws of the United States, (2) exceeded its jurisdiction, (3) exceeded the maximum authorized by law, or (4) is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; United States v. Phillips, 225 F.3d 1198, 1199 (11th Cir. 2000); United States v. Walker, 198 F.3d 811, 813 n.5 (11th Cir. 1999). "Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for that narrow compass of other injury that could not have been raised in direct appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" Lynn v. United States, 365 F.3d 1225, 1232-33 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).

B. One-year Limitation Period

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") establishes a one-year limitation period for filing § 2255 motions. See Goodman v. United States, 151 F.3d 1335, 1336 (11th Cir. 1998). Specifically, § 2255(f) provides that ...


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