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United States v. Beaulieu

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 29, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MIKE BEAULIEU. Criminal No. 10-56 Erie.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SEAN J. McLAUGHLIN, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Mike Beaulieu's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.[1] [Dkt. 37]. In 37]. In his pro se Section 2255 motion, Defendant primarily asserts that his attorney induced him to plead guilty by promising him that he would receive a sentence of only 37 months incarceration. The government responds that Defendant has waived his right to file a motion collaterally attacking his sentence. For the reasons which follow, Defendant's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

On September 14, 2010, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging charging Defendant with aggravated sexual abuse, kidnapping, using and carrying a carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On March 21, 2012, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count Two (kidnapping) and Count Four (using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence) pursuant to a written plea agreement. Paragraph 6 of the plea agreement contained the following waiver provision:

MIKE BEAULIEU waives the right to take a direct appeal from his conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 or 18 U.S.C. § 3742, subject to the following exceptions:
(a) If the United States appeals from the sentence, MIKE BEAULIEU may take a direct appeal from the sentence.
(b) If (1) the sentence exceeds the applicable statutory limits set forth in the United States Code, or (2) the sentence unreasonably exceeds the guideline range determined by the Court under the Sentencing Guidelines, MIKE BEAULIEU may take a direct appeal from the sentence.
MIKE BEAULIEU further waives the right to file a motion to vacate sentence, under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, attacking his conviction or sentence, and the right to file any other collateral proceeding attacking his conviction or sentence.

(Plea Agreement, ¶ 6).

A change of plea hearing was held on March 21, 2012. At the hearing, counsel for the government described the salient provisions of the plea agreement, agreement, including the appellate and collateral attack waiver provision. (Transcript, March 12, 2012, at 12-14). The Court then directly addressed Defendant to determine whether he had read and understood the plea agreement, agreement, had reviewed it with counsel, had expressed any questions or concerns with the plea agreement to counsel, and had agreed to the terms therein by signing the plea agreement. (Transcript, March 12, 2012, at 15-16). Defendant answered each question in the affirmative. (Id. at 16). The Court then directly questioned Defendant concerning the waiver provision contained in plea agreement:

The Court: Do you also understand, Mr. Beaulieu, that for all intents and purposes by virtue of your plea agreement, you have waived any right to appeal, except if the sentence I impose would exceed a statutory maximum, I can assure you it will not, or it unreasonably exceeds the guideline range, I can also assure you it will not, or if the government chose to appeal. Do you also understand that in addition to waiving your right to take a direct appeal, you've also waived your right to collaterally attack any aspect of these proceedings via a Habeas Corpus petition; do you understand that?
Defendant: Yes, sir.

(Id. at 16). The Court also questioned Defendant concerning whether he had been promised anything outside of the contents of the plea agreement as an inducement to plead guilty and whether he had been promised any particular sentence:

The Court: Now, has anybody made any promise to you, other than the plea agreement, that has caused ...

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