United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell, United States District Judge
the court is Defendant Daniel Thomas Curran's motion
(Doc. 127) to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. After careful review, the court will deny
indictment dated November 20, 2013, Defendant was charged
with production of child pornography, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2251(a) (Count I), and possession of child
pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B)
(Count II). (Doc. 16). Defendant pleaded not guilty. (Doc.
March 14, 2014, Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress
evidence, seeking to exclude inculpatory evidence found in
three bags that belonged to him, as well as evidence found in
his storage unit that he claimed was “fruit of the
poisonous tree.” (Doc. 40; Doc. 61 at 3-4). After an
evidentiary hearing, this court denied Defendant's motion
to suppress in a memorandum opinion. (Doc. 68).
September 10, 2014, the Government filed a superseding
indictment. (Doc. 74). The superseding indictment charged
Defendant with production of child pornography (Count I) and
possession of child pornography (now Count III), and added a
charge of receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2) (Count II). (Doc. 74). The
approximate offense dates provided in the superseding
indictment for Count II (receipt) were “June 4, 2007
through April 1, 2011, ” and the approximate offense
dates for Count III (possession) were “August 1, 2013
through September 24, 2013.” (Id. at 3-5).
Defendant initially pleaded not guilty to the superseding
indictment. (Doc. 83).
November 2014, Defendant signed a written plea agreement with
the Government, (Doc. 89), and, pursuant to Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 11(a)(2), entered a conditional plea of
guilty to all three charges in the superseding indictment,
(Doc. 94). This guilty plea was conditioned on
Defendant's ability to appeal the denial of his motion to
4, 2015, this court sentenced Defendant to 840 months'
imprisonment, which consisted of 360 months on Count I and
240 months on each of Counts II and III, to be served
consecutive with each other and with Count I. (Doc. 117 at
2). Defendant appealed the denial of his suppression motion
as well as the substantive reasonableness of his sentence.
United States v. Curran, 638 F. App'x 149 (3d
Cir. 2016). The Third Circuit affirmed on both issues,
id. at 150, and the Supreme Court of the United
States denied certiorari on October 3, 2016, Curran v.
United States, 137 S.Ct. 180 (2016) (mem.).
April 21, 2017, Defendant timely filed the instant motion
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 127). He raises four
grounds for relief: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel;
(2) double jeopardy regarding Count II (receipt of child
pornography) and Count III (possession of child pornography);
(3) a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights related to the
search and seizure of his bags; and (4) unlawful seizure of
his person in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The
Government filed a response to Defendant's claims, (Doc.
131), and Defendant filed a reply shortly thereafter, (Doc.
134). The motion is now ripe for disposition.
§ 2255 motion, Defendant raises four claims for relief.
The court will address each claim, but in a different order
than presented in Defendant's motion.
Fourth Amendment Claim Regarding Search of Bags
claim three of his § 2255 motion, Defendant once again
argues that his bags were unlawfully searched and seized, and
that their contents should have been suppressed as a
consequence. The problem for Defendant is that this claim has
already been fully litigated by this court and by the Third
Circuit. See generally (Doc. 68); United States
v. Curran, 638 F. App'x 149 (3d Cir. 2016).
Accordingly, it will not be relitigated at the § 2255
motion stage. See United States v. Travillion, 759
F.3d 281, 288 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing United States v.
DeRewal, 10 F.3d 100, 105 n.4 (3d Cir. 1993))
(“[I]ssues resolved in a prior direct appeal will not
be reviewed again by way of a § 2255 motion.”).
Consequently, relief on this claim will be summarily denied.
Unlawful Seizure of Defendant at the Storage
labels his fourth claim as “Over Using
Authority.” (Doc. 127 at 8). He asserts that police
officers “man handled” the storage operator to
open the gate to the storage units, and handcuffed Defendant
behind the gate without an arrest warrant. (Id.)
From his motion and reply brief, it appears that Defendant is
raising a Fourth Amendment claim, alleging that the officers
wrongfully arrested him without a warrant.
claim falters for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost,
Defendant failed to raise this claim in his initial criminal
proceedings in this court or on direct appeal, and has
provided no reason why he could not have raised the claim
during those proceedings. Consequently, he is precluded from
raising it for the first time in his § 2255 motion.
Travillion, 759 F.3d at 288 n.11 (citing
DeRewal, 10 F.3d at 105 n.4) (“[I]ssues which
should have been raised on direct appeal may not be raised
with a § 2255 motion.”); Ray v. United
States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013) (“[A]
§ 2255 motion is not a substitute for a direct appeal.
Accordingly, claims that could have been raised on direct
appeal, but were not, will not be entertained via a motion
under § 2255 unless ...