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Valdez-Gomez v. United States

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

September 26, 2018

CLAUDIA VALDEZ-GOMEZ, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is Claudia Valdez-Gomez's pro se motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Doc. # 2.[1]

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 18, 2012, Valdez-Gomez pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of methamphetamine based on a drug sale she made to an undercover narcotics officer. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Following a sentencing hearing on October 16, 2012, the district court sentenced Valdez-Gomez under a safety valve reduction to 74 months in prison. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1)-(5); U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2 Valdez-Gomez did not appeal.

         On August 10, 2016, Valdez-Gomez filed this § 2255 motion asserting she is entitled to a mitigating role reduction to her sentence based on Amendment 794 to § 3B1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that Valdez- Gomez's § 2255 motion be denied without an evidentiary hearing and this case be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. General Legal Standard

         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 may have 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 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). The “fundamental miscarriage of justice” exception recognized in Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 496 (1986), provides that it must be shown that the alleged constitutional violation “has probably resulted in the conviction of one who is actually innocent.”

         B. Amendment 794 to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2

         Valdez-Gomez contends she is entitled to a retroactive mitigating role reduction to her sentence based on the November 1, 2015 amendment (Amendment 794) to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2. Doc. # 2 at 1-6.

         Section 3B1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines provides that a defendant's offense level should be decreased as follows:

(a) If the defendant was a minimal participant in any criminal activity, decrease by 4 levels.
(b) If the defendant was a minor participant in any criminal activity, ...

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