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United States v. Snell

United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

March 17, 2015

MALIK SNELL Criminal Action No. 08-299



Presently before the Court is Petitioner Malik Snell’s pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 267.) For the following reasons, the Motion will be denied.


Malik Snell was a police officer in Philadelphia. (June 5, 2009 Trial Tr. 9, ECF No. 218.) On December 16, 2007, he drove his brother-in-law, Tyree Aimes, and a friend, Stephon Gibson, to an apartment building in Pottstown.[1] (June 5 Trial Tr. 25-32.) The purpose of the trip was robbery. Snell had his loaded .380 caliber firearm with him in the center console of the car.[2](June 5 Trial Tr. 58, 90-91.) When they arrived in Pottstown, Snell remained in the car while Aimes and Gibson attempted to forcibly enter Sharon Minnick’s apartment.[3] (June 5 Trial Tr. 45; June 2, 2009 Trial Tr. 101-02, 223-25, ECF No. 215.) Aimes was chased off by a resident, but Gibson got in, restrained Minnick, and rummaged through the apartment. (June 5 Trial Tr. 45-47; June 2 Trial Tr. 102-04, 223-225.) Aimes ran to Snell’s waiting car and the two drove away from the building. (June 5 Trial Tr. 47-49; June 2 Trial Tr. 225-26.)

In the meantime, Minnick had freed herself and called the police. (June 2 Trial Tr. 104.) The officers responding to the call saw Snell’s car exiting the parking lot and followed it. (June 5 Trial Tr. 54-56; June 2 Trial Tr. 226.) Snell fled, leading the officers on a high-speed chase at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The chase ended with Snell crashing into the side of another vehicle at an intersection.[4] (June 5 Trial Tr. 55-56, 103; June 2 Trial Tr. 226.) Snell then fled on foot and hid in a nearby shed, where a police dog ultimately found him. (June 5 Trial Tr. 56-58; June 2 Trial Tr. 228.)

In June 2009, a jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found Snell guilty of: (1) conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery; (2) attempted interference with interstate commerce by robbery; (3) carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); and (4) interference with interstate commerce by robbery.[5] (See ECF No. 232.) He was sentenced to a total of 360 months in prison. (Id.)

Snell did not file post-trial motions. He did, however, file appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and in the United States Supreme Court. Both of the appeals were unsuccessful. See Snell v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 532 (2011) (denying writ of certiorari); United States v. Snell, 432 F. App’x 80, 86 (3d Cir. 2011). Snell thereafter filed a motion for a new trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, asserting newly-discovered evidence. That motion was denied. See Snell, 2013 WL 5676354, at *6. Snell’s appeal to the Third Circuit from that denial was recently denied. See United States v. Snell, No. 13-4337, 2015 WL 775109 (3d Cir. Feb. 20, 2015). Failing to secure relief elsewhere, Snell filed this § 2255 Motion in June 2014. (ECF No. 267.) On September 29, 2014, the Government filed a response. (ECF No. 275.)


Under § 2255, a federal prisoner may move the sentencing court to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Relief under this provision is generally available “to protect against a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice or an omission inconsistent with the rudimentary demands of fair procedure.” United States v. DeLuca, 889 F.2d 503, 506 (3d Cir. 1989).

While the Court may in its discretion hold an evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 petition - see Virgin Islands v. Forte, 865 F.2d 59, 62 (3d Cir. 1989) - such a hearing need not be held if the “motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 41-42 (3d Cir. 1992).


Snell argues that his conviction for violating § 924(c) must be set aside under the Supreme Court’s decision in Rosemond v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 1240 (2014). We are satisfied that Snell’s Motion is untimely. Moreover, Rosemond does not apply to Snell’s case. The Motion will therefore be denied and no certificate of appealability will issue.

A. Timeliness

Section 2255 motions are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. Under subsection (f), that one-year clock starts to run ...

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