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Clark v. United States

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

July 26, 2018

DAVID EUGENE CLARK, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Now pending before the Court is the motion filed by David Eugene Clark (hereinafter “Movant”) seeking to vacate the judgment of conviction against him and to dismiss all charges against him “due to the United States' failure to allege and proof of [sic] ‘standing' ” (Doc. 43 at 1).[1] The motion was filed on June 6, 2018.[2]

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Movant expressly states that ‘THIS IS NOT A SECTION 2255 ‘MOTION' ”. (Id. at 1) (capitalization in original). However, the relief he seeks is that his sentence be vacated. (Id. at 4) (“MOVANT, hereby requests this ‘sentencing court', to: *** 3) Vacate MOVANT's sentences due to the United States' failure to allege and prove ‘injury-in-fact' as required and protected, under Article III, of the United States Constitution.”) (capitalization and punctuation in original). Movant challenges his sentence as having been imposed in violation of his “Article III Constitutional Rights” which he describes variously as [lack of] “Actual, concrete, injury-in-fact” (id., at 1 and passim), and [lack of] “case or controversy” (id.). Further, he expressly relies on 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (id. at 4) (“Movant does hereby further rely on Congress's intent under § 2255 which states ....”).

         Almost any collateral challenge[3] to the validity of a federal sentence must be brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In relevant part, that statute states:

(a) A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

Id.

         This includes challenges based on alleged “violation(s) of the Constitution ... or that the court was without jurisdiction”.[4] (Id.).

         The Court has noted that this is the first § 2255 petition filed by Mr. Clark. Accordingly, the Court provided Mr. Clark, on June 19, 2018, written notice (Order, doc. 44) that the Court would construe his motion as a motion to vacate brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 unless, no later than July 18, 2018, he withdrew it. In response, Mr. Clark filed an “Objection to Courts [sic] Handling” (doc. 45). In that Objection, he maintains that his pending motion “was in compliance with § 2255(a).” (Id.). So, he did not withdraw or amend the motion, nor did he argue that it should not be addressed under § 2255. He did, however, argue for the first time that “§ 2255(f) is unconstitutional.” (Id.).

         After reviewing Mr. Clark's response, the Court directed the Clerk of Court to open a new case brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and to file the Motion in it. (Order, doc. 46). The Court now responds substantively to the motion, as supplemented by the Objection.

         II. MOVANT'S ARGUMENTS

         As set out above, Mr. Clark has asserted two arguments in support of his motion. First, in response to this Court's Castro Notice (doc. 44), in which the Court noted that the motion was untimely (see doc. 44 at 1, fn 1), Mr. Clark argues that the one-year statutory time limitation found at 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f) is an unconstitutional “suspension clause trigger ... denying Habeas [sic] corpus actions.” (Doc. 45 at 2). On the merits, he argues that his conviction is void because the United States did not have “Article III Standing” because it was did not allege or prove any “injury in fact”. (See docs. 43, 45, passim).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Mr. Clark has asserted Article III to support his Constitutional challenge to the validity of his sentence. Thus, his motion is ...


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