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United States v. Collazo

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 12, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
FELIX ALBERTO COLLAZO, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge.

         Presently before this Court is a Motion to Correct Sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 487) filed by Defendant Felix Alberto Collazo (“Defendant”). The facts presented at Defendant’s change of plea hearing and in the uncontested Pre-Sentence Investigation Report show that Defendant committed a crime of violence, namely a Hobbs Act robbery. While Defendant did not plead guilty to a Hobbs Act robbery, such a plea is not required to sustain a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). For this reason, Defendant’s Motion will be denied.

         I. Background

         A. Factual History:

         On the morning of January 17, 2009 two members of the Bloods street gang agreed that they would travel into the City of Harrisburg to rob at least one person. That night, the gang members–Defendant Collazo and Dion Dakota Johnson–approached their victim as he exited his car. The victim was immediately forced into the backseat of his car at gunpoint and was forced to give the Defendant his car keys, his ATM card, and his ATM identification number. While in the backseat, the Defendant continued to point his gun at the victim. Eventually, the victim was moved to the trunk of the car.

         Next, the Defendant proceeded to travel around Harrisburg in search of ATMs. He discovered four ATMs and withdrew a total of $400 from the victim’s bank account. After securing this money, the Defendant abandoned the victim’s car in a secluded ally. The victim remained locked in the trunk for over an hour in freezing cold temperatures. Luckily, the victim was able to kick out the backseats of the car to escape.

         B. Procedural History:

         As a result of Defendant’s conduct, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count[1]Second Superseding Indictment (“SSI”) on April 29, 2009 charging him with: (1) Conspiracy to Commit Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count I) (“conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery”); (2) Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Counts II and III); (3) Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2119 (Count IV); (4) Brandishing a weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (Count V); and (5) Brandishing a weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(o) (Count VI). (Doc. 53.) The Defendant pleaded not guilty to these charges on May 12, 2009. (Doc. 96.) However, on November 5, 2009 the Defendant moved to withdraw his plea of not guilty. (Doc. 245.) I granted Defendant’s Motion. (Id.)

         Subsequently, the Defendant entered into a plea agreement. (Doc. 231.) This agreement stipulated that the Defendant would plead guilty to Counts I and V of the SSI, and the government would dismiss all remaining Counts. (Id.) I accepted the Defendant’s plea in accord with this agreement on November 5, 2009. (Doc. 245.)

         Now, in light of recent developments in the law, Defendant has filed a Motion to Correct Sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 2255. This Motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review.[2]

         II. Legal Standard

         “Motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the presumptive means by which federal prisoners can challenge their convictions or sentences that are allegedly in violation of the Constitution.” Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002). Section 2255 permits a prisoner sentenced by a federal court to move the court that imposed the sentence to “vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence” where: (1) the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         Section 2255(b) generally entitles a petitioner to a hearing on his motion, “[u]nless 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 Rule 4(b), Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts (“If it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion and direct the clerk to notify the moving party.”).

         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 Fed. App’x 709, 710 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation omitted). The district court may, however, dispose of “vague and conclusory allegations” contained in a § 2255 ...


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