United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Before the Court is the Government’s Motion to Dismiss Edwin Medina, Jr.’s Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct his Sentence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and Medina’s response thereto. For the reasons that follow, the Government’s Motion will be denied.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
On November 15, 2013, pursuant to a plea agreement with the federal government, Medina pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, two counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin and aiding and abetting, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking felony and aiding and abetting, twelve counts of unlawful use of a communication facility. The plea agreement provided for dismissal of several counts of the superseding indictment, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, distribution of heroin and aiding and abetting, and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and aiding and abetting. The federal plea agreement also provided that Medina would also plead guilty to the homicide of Hector Plaza in state court, and indicated that the District Attorney had agreed to recommend that the state sentence run concurrently with the federal sentence, and that the concurrent sentences would be served in federal prison.
No agreement was reached requiring the government to recommend a particular sentence in either the federal or state court. The plea hearing included the following colloquies with Defendant:
Court: “There is no understanding or agreement here as to a specific sentence, is there?” Medina: “No.”
Court: “Whether or not I agree with the parties facts, stipulations, whether or not I accept the recommendations, whether or not I grant motions and requests, do you understand that the Court does not have to sentence you to what anyone else thinks that you’re owed?”
Court: “And as of today you’ve heard the outlines of the maximum possible penalties you can receive, but you have not heard that there is an agreement between the parties as to a sentence. . . . So, this Court is free to sentence you to anywhere up to the maximum sentence allowed by law, do you understand that?”
During the plea hearing, the Court also inquired as to the status of the state court homicide case, and Medina’s counsel told him that “the plea, that case will-it is unlikely to proceed until this one is completed.”
Consistent with this representation, Medina pled guilty and was sentenced in state court only after his federal sentence was imposed. Days after Medina was sentenced to 240 months (20 years) in federal court, he was sentenced to 8½ -17 years in state court, to run concurrently with his federal sentence and to be served in federal prison.
On June 2, 2014, Medina filed a notice of appeal, but he moved to voluntarily withdraw the appeal before briefing was ordered. The Third Circuit granted the motion to withdraw and dismissed the appeal on September 18, 2014. On June 24, 2014, Medina filed his § 2255 petition in this Court pro se. Counsel was subsequently appointed to represent Medina in this §2255 ...