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United States v. Claudio

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 28, 2015



JAMES M. MUNLEY, District Judge.

Before the court for disposition is Defendant Richard Claudio's (hereinafter "Claudio") motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (hereinafter "section 2255") to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence.[1] (Doc. 30). The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. After careful consideration, the court will deny Claudio's motion.


A federal grand jury indicted Claudio on November 22, 2011, charging that on or about April 25, 2011, Claudio did knowingly and intentionally forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with a federal law enforcement official, a unit manager employed by the United States Bureau of Prisons, causing bodily injury. (Doc. 1). On July 2, 2012, Claudio pled guilty to the lesser included offense of assaulting, resisting, opposing and impeding a federal law enforcement official. (Doc. 27). On that same day and in accordance with the plea agreement, the court sentenced Claudio to one-year and one day. (Id.) The judgment of conviction indicated that Claudio had fourteen (14) days to file a notice of appeal, however, no notice of appeal was filed. (Id.)

Claudio filed the current motion on September 8, 2014. (Doc. 30). The parties then briefed the issues, bringing the case to its current procedural posture.


As defendant brings his motion under section 2255, we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."). We also have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 ("Writs of habeas corpus may be granted by... the district courts[.]").

Standard of Review

A federal prisoner in custody under the sentence of a federal court may, within one year from when the judgment becomes final, move the sentencing court to "vacate, set aside, or correct" a sentence "imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A section 2255 motion may attack a federal prisoner's sentence on any of the following grounds: "[1] that the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction, or [2] that the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise open to collateral attack, or [3] that there has been such a denial or infringement of the Constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral attack...." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

Section 2255, however, does not afford a remedy for all errors that may have been made at trial or sentencing. United States v. Essig, 10 F.3d 968, 977 n.25 (3d Cir. 1993). Rather, section 2255 permits relief for an error of law or fact constituting a "fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice." United States v. Eakman, 378 F.3d 294, 298 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979)). If the court determines that the sentence was not authorized by law, was unconstitutional, or otherwise open to collateral attack, the court must either vacate the judgment, resentence the prisoner, or grant the prisoner a new trial as appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). Conversely, a court may dismiss a section 2255 motion where the record shows conclusively that the movant is not entitled to relief. United States v. Nahodil, 36 F.3d 323, 326 (3d Cir. 1994).


In his section 2255 motion, Claudio argues that his conviction should be vacated due to double jeopardy concerns and ineffective assistance of counsel. Recognizing that section 2255's one-year statute of limitations precludes his claims, Claudio seeks to equitably toll, or extend, the limitations period. The government contends that Claudio's section 2255 motion is untimely and must be denied. Alternatively, the government asserts that Claudio's substantive claims fail on the merits. The court will first address the issue of timeliness.

A. Timeliness under section 2255

Section 2255 has a one-year statute of limitations. Specifically, federal law provides: "A 1-year period of limitations shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period shall run from... the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1). Under Rule 4(b)(1)(A) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, a defendant's notice of ...

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