United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JOSEPH S. HYDUK, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
Richard Caputo United States District Judge
before me is Petitioner Joseph S. Hyduk's
(“Hyduk”) motion to vacate, set aside, or correct
his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, submitted on
September 3, 2016. (Doc. 64, at 12). For the reasons that
follow, the motion will be denied.
November 5, 2014, Hyduk pled guilty to one count of wire
fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count
of tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. (Docs.
16, 17, 18, 19). The charges were the result of a federal
investigation which determined that, from August 2010 through
November 2013, Hyduk, who was a financial advisor, embezzled
money from his clients. Instead of investing the client's
money, as instructed by them, Hyduk deposited the funds into
his personal bank accounts and used it for his personal gain.
(Doc. 36, ¶ 6). Federal investigators determined that
during the period charged in the criminal information, Hyduk
stole $995, 724.28 from at least sixteen clients. (Doc. 36,
30, 2015, I sentenced Hyduk to 63 months of imprisonment on
each count to run concurrently, followed by three years of
supervised release. (Doc. 51). Hyduk did not file any
27, 2016, Hyduk filed a motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. Shortly thereafter, I provided Hyduk with
instructions and information regarding his § 2255
petition, as required by United States v. Miller,
197 F.3d 644 (3d Cir.1999) and Mason v. Myers, 208
F.3d 414, 419 (3d Cir. 2000). (Doc. 58). On September 3,
2016, Hyduk filed his Notice of Election where he withdrew
his habeas petition. (Doc. 63). Instead, the same day, he
filed a new motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 64). In his
current § 2255 motion, Hyduk raises claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel, alleging that his attorney
failed to bring Hyduk's alleged drug addiction to my
attention at sentencing; Hyduk argues that the addiction
“clouded [his] judgment and was a major factor in
causing [him] to commit” the crimes. (Id. at
5). The Government opposes Hyduk's motion. (Doc. 67).
The Framework of 28 U.S.C. § 2255
to § 2255, a federal prisoner in custody may move the
court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or
correct the sentence upon the ground that:
[T]he 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); Hill v. United States, 368
U.S. 424, 426-27, 82 S.Ct. 468 (1962). The statute provides
that, as a remedy for a sentence imposed in violation of the
law, “the court shall vacate and set the judgment aside
and shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a
new trial or correct the sentence as may appear
appropriate.” Id. § 2255(b).
district court is required to hold an evidentiary hearing on
a § 2255 motion unless the motion, files, and records of
the case show conclusively that the movant is not entitled to
relief. Id.; see also United States v.
Booth, 432 F.3d 542, 545-46 (3d Cir.2005). The threshold
the petitioner must meet to obtain an evidentiary hearing is
considered to be “reasonably low.” Id.
at 546. With this in mind, in considering a § 2255
motion, the “district court must ‘accept the
truth of the movant's factual allegations unless they are
clearly frivolous on the basis of the existing
record.'” Johnson v. United States, 294
F.App'x 709, 710 (3d Cir.2008) (quoting Booth,
432 F.3d at 545-46). The district court may, however, dispose
of “vague and conclusory allegations” contained
in a § 2255 petition without further investigation.
Id. at 710 (quoting United States v.
Thomas, 221 F.3d 430, 437 (3d Cir.2000).
Ineffective Assistance Claim
prisoner seeking relief on the grounds of ineffective
assistance of counsel bears the burden to demonstrate two
requirements, as initially set forth by the Supreme Court in
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). To
prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel under
Strickland, a defendant “must establish that
(1) the performance of counsel fell below an objective
standard of reasonableness; and, (2) counsel's deficient
performance prejudiced the defense.” United States
v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687-88); see also United
States v. Seeley, 574 Fed.Appx. 75, 78 (3d Cir. 2014);
Roe v. Flores-Ortega, 528 U.S. 470, 476-477 (2000)
(citing Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688, 694). The Third
Circuit has “endorsed the practical suggestion in
Strickland [that the Court may] consider the
prejudice prong before examining the performance of counsel
prong ‘because this course of action is less burdensome
to defense counsel.'” United States v.
Lilly, 536 F.3d 190, 196 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Booth, 432 F.3d at 546, which ...