United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Antonio Gonzalez Maya's
motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. (Doc. 1). The court finds that the motion is due
to be DENIED.
timely-filed motion to vacate, Mr. Maya raises four grounds
for why this court should vacate his sentence. (Doc. 1). Mr.
Maya asserts that (1) counsel represented to him that he
would receive a sentence no longer than five years and
counsel instructed him to respond, “yes, ” to the
court's questions at the plea colloquy, even if that
response was untruthful; (2) the court improperly enhanced
his sentence based on personal opinions and facts not
included in the indictment or admitted as part of his plea
agreement; (3) counsel failed to object to the court's
unreasonable sentence, which Mr. Maya states was based on an
incorrect calculation of his supervised release guideline
range and an improper enhancement for possession of firearms;
and (4) his supervised release sentence is unconstitutional
because he was sentenced above the guideline range. Grounds 2
and 4 fail because of the collateral-attack bar in Mr.
Maya's plea agreement. Grounds 1 and 3 fail because Mr.
Maya has failed to establish under Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), that counsel was
ineffective or that he was prejudiced by any ineffective
to a plea agreement, Mr. Maya pleaded guilty to possessing
methamphetamine with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1). (Case no. 2:15-cr-323 (“Crim. Doc.”),
docs. 13, 22). Attorney Samuel Holmes represented Mr. Maya
during the proceedings.
written plea agreement, which Mr. Maya initialed on each page
and signed at the end, noted that he faced a 10-year
mandatory minimum sentence. (Crim. Doc. 13 at 2, 14). Mr.
Maya's plea agreement also included an appeal and
collateral-attack waiver. That provision stated:
I, Antonio Gonzalez Maya, hereby waive and give up my right
to appeal my conviction in this case, as well as any fines,
restitution, and/or sentence the court might impose upon me.
Further, I waive and give up the right to challenge my
conviction and/or sentence, any fines, restitution,
forfeiture orders imposed or the manner in which my
conviction and/or sentence, any fines, restitution, and
forfeiture orders were determined in any post-conviction
proceeding, including, but not limited to, a motion brought
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
(Crim. Doc. 13 at 7-8). The appellate and collateral-attack
waiver contained exceptions, preserving Mr. Maya's right
to appeal and collaterally attack his sentence on three
grounds: (1) a sentence imposed above the applicable
statutory maximum; (2) a sentence imposed above the advisory
guidelines range found by the court; or (3) ineffective
assistance of counsel. (Id. at 8).
the plea colloquy, this court told Mr. Maya that it would ask
him “questions about the offense with which you are
charged or other questions relating to your plea of guilty or
to matters pertaining to sentencing.” (Crim. Doc. 33 at
3). This court added that “[a]ny answers to my
questions must be full, complete and true because a false
answer or a false statement made under oath could be the
basis for prosecuting you for perjury.” (Id.
33 at 3). Mr. Maya stated that he understood. The court then
placed Mr. Maya under oath.
court confirmed with Mr. Maya that he understood the meaning
of the collateral-attack waiver in the plea agreement,
including the meaning of a collateral challenge. (Crim. Doc.
33 at 9).
court noted the possible statutory penalties that Mr. Maya
could receive, including the 10-year mandatory minimum
sentence and that it lacked the ability to impose less than
the mandatory minimum on its own. (Crim. Doc. 33 at 14). The
court also told Mr. Maya that any sentence he might receive
could be different from any estimate or prediction made by
his counsel or anyone else. (Id. at 15). Mr. Maya
stated that he was satisfied with his counsel. (Id.
at 18). The court asked Mr. Maya at the end of the hearing
whether he, for any reason, did not want to plead guilty,
observing that this would be Mr. Maya's last opportunity
to withdraw from that guilty plea. (Id. at 22). Mr.
Maya confirmed that he wanted to plead guilty, and this court
adjudicated him as such. (Id.).
to sentencing, the probation office prepared a presentence
investigation report (“PSR”). The PSR included an
enhancement to Mr. Maya's offense level for the
possession of firearms, U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1). Mr.
Maya's custodial guideline range in the PSR was 151 to
188 months' imprisonment; his supervised-release
guideline range in the PSR was 5 years to life.
court sentenced Mr. Maya on June 20, 2016. Mr. Maya did not
file any objections to the findings made in the PSR. (Crim.
Doc. 34 at 3). This court also asked Mr. Maya directly
whether he had read and discussed the PSR with counsel and
whether he had any objections to the content of the report.
(Id. at 3). Mr. Maya confirmed that he had read and
discussed the report and that he had no objections to its
the PSR's findings, the court found that the advisory
guideline range was 151 to 188 months' imprisonment, with
a mandatory minimum of 120 months' imprisonment. This
court stated that Mr. Maya's “supervised release
period” was between five years and life. (Doc. 34 at
4). The court offered Mr. Maya an opportunity to speak on his
own behalf before ...