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Pressley v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

January 31, 2017

EDDIE PRESSLEY
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS United States District Judge

         Petitioner, Eddie Pressley, has filed a counseled Motion To Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. His motion is entirely premised upon the (accepted as true for purposes of this analysis) failure of prior retained counsel to file a timely (or indeed, any) Motion To Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He also asks this court to find that his motion is not time-barred because the same failure of prior retained counsel equitably tolled the statute of limitations. For the reasons set out below, this court finds that the motion is time-barred and therefore procedurally defaulted. Petitioner is not entitled to equitable tolling. Further, he has not set out any claims that are cognizable under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Accordingly, the Petition will be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY

         On March 2, 2011, Defendant Eddie Pressley (“Pressley”) was found guilty by a jury verdict of the following: one count of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count One); one count of bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2) (Count Two); seven counts of depriving the public of its right to the honest services of a public official or employee through the use of the wires in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346 (Counts Three through Ten); one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (Count Eleven); and ten counts of engaging in monetary transactions with criminal proceeds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 (Counts Twelve through Twenty-Two). On January 5, 2012, after ruling on various post-trial motions, this court sentenced Petitioner to a term of one hundred and forty-four months' imprisonment, followed by three years supervised release, and ordered forfeiture of $21 million. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on May 2, 2013.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. The Petition Is Procedurally Defaulted Because It Is Untimely

         Section 2255 enables a federal prisoner to challenge his conviction or sentence; however, there are procedural limitations on a § 2255 motion. Procedural default is one of those limitations. Generally, if a defendant does not raise an argument regarding his sentence on direct appeal, then he may not seek collateral review of his sentence by way of a § 2555 challenge. See Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 504 (2003). “The procedural-default rule is neither a statutory nor a constitutional requirement, but it is a doctrine adhered to by the courts to conserve judicial resources and to respect the law's important interest in the finality of judgments.” (Id.).

         The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) was enacted on April 24, 1996, and, pertinent to this case, added a new subdivision to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 providing for a one-year period of limitations within which federal prisoners must file their motions to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Akins v. United States, 204 F.3d 1086, 1089 (11th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 971 (2000).

A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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